MasterCard Commits $20 Million to Enhance Cybersecurity

February 18, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue

Credit card companies, retailers and payment networks are all feeling the heat after a year of massive data breaches and countless cases of identity theft.

MasterCard is now taking some major steps to protect their customers with a $20 million commitment to enhance cybersecurity.

One of the new initiatives called “MasterCard Safety Net” will begin this spring. It reduces the risk of fraud or cyber attacks before they happen. It is able to monitor and block transactions based on certain criteria and enhances the systems that other institutions already have in place to combat fraud.

In addition, MasterCard revealed a new pilot biometrics security program. The payment network will roll out a program allowing cardholders to verify purchases using facial and voice recognition as well as fingerprint matching.

“These new activities will help us continue to deliver the tools and solutions that instill a peace of mind by protecting each transaction that crosses our network,” said Chris McWilton, president, North American Markets, MasterCard in a press release. “While progress is being made with the move to EMV and mobile payments, our continued investments reinforce the efforts we are taking to protect the payments system for cardholders, merchants and issuers. That’s at the heart of what our cardholders expect when they see our brand mark.”

MasterCard will partner with First Tech Credit Union on this biometrics program.

“We are excited about partnering with MasterCard on this cybersecurity initiative. As the nation’s leading credit union serving the technology sector, we remain committed to providing our members with leading edge security to protect their identity and financial interests. The MasterCard cybersecurity concept is innovative, and a big step towards this commitment. We look forward to helping MasterCard bring this new technology to our member cardholders throughout America,” said Greg Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of First Tech Federal Credit Union.

MasterCard’s biggest rival, Visa, announced a new security initiative last Thursday. Visa’s Mobile Location Confirmation program tracks a cardholder’s cell phone, and then compares this location to where the credit card is used. If the two locations do not match, then the transaction is flagged for review.

“By matching the location of the cardholder through a cell phone or other mobile device, to the location of the purchase, Visa’s new service will enable banks to feel more confident about authorizing a transaction that might otherwise have been declined due to suspicion of fraud,” said Mark Nelsen, senior vice president of risk products and business intelligence for Visa, in a statement.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 18, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.