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Payments giant rolls out new NFC technology

Mar 13, 2013 Dave King

At the 2013 Mobile World Congress, MasterCard introduced a new digital payments technology called MasterPass, which promises to streamline the way consumers make mobile payments.

The advanced mobile payments program will allow users to link debit, credit and prepaid cards, such as ACH cards. Once their chosen payment methods are connected, consumers will be able to make transactions using NFC and QR codes, among other emerging technologies, to make purchases at point of sales terminals and stores' aisles. MasterPass would also enable users to integrate their loyalty cards with the service, allowing them to complete all of their merchant interactions through one device.

According to MasterCard, the technology is powered by a secure cloud, affording greater security to users than some other mobile payments applications.

"Every device is becoming a shopping device," Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard said in a statement. "MasterPass brings together all of the ways we pay for things, from traditional plastic cards to digital wallets, and gives consumers the ability to make a payment from wherever they are and with one simple experience."

Of course, while innovations like MasterPass are certainly convenient for consumers in many ways, in others they could prove risky, even when backed by more secure infrastructures like the cloud. The Payment Cards Industry (PCI) Compliance Guide recommends against using mobile payments technologies that store card data, as these tools can place sensitive information at significant risk, even if encryption methods are used.

As businesses decide whether to enable customers to use mobile payment technologies, they may also want to consider whether the methods they support are truly secure. While the health of an individual's consumer credit data is certainly not entirely in the hands of company owners, they can help prevent credit and identity theft incidents by weighing their options when it comes to what transactional technologies to accept.