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Taking Aim at Passwords

MasterCard, in conjunction with Visa, is developing a new authentication standard.

MasterCard today announced that is co-creating, along with Visa, a new authentication standard in online payment security, featuring invisible authentication and far fewer prompts for passwords.

According to MasterCard, the new approach will result in far fewer password interruptions at the point of sale. In the event that an authentication challenge is needed, cardholders will be able to identify themselves with the likes of one-time passwords, or fingerprint biometrics, rather than committing static passwords to memory, the company said.

The new standard could be adopted in 2015 and will gradually replace the current "3D Secure" protocol used in most online transactions. Other steps MasterCard said it is taking toward a password-free environment include piloting commercial tests for facial and voice recognition apps to authenticate cardholders and conducting trials of a wristband, which authenticates cardholders through their unique cardiac rhythms.

“All of us want a payment experience that is safe as well as simple, not one or the other," said Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Security Solutions at MasterCard, in a prepared statement. "We want to identify people for who they are, not what they remember. We have too many passwords to remember and this creates extra problems for consumers and businesses.”

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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