Global payments company MasterCard says it is now giving consumers the freedom to shop more securely online or in-app from any connected device, by integrating tokenisation into its MasterPass digital wallet.

The new offering leverages the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), which was launched in 2013 and allows the payments company's customers to use their accounts in conjunction with an array of new digital platforms such as Apple Pay.

MasterCard will replace the personal account numbers (PAN) for consumer credit, debit, commercial and prepaid cards stored in MasterPass with a secure "token", which comprises a new 16-digit number representing the existing PAN on the front of a payment card. It is viewed as an extra layer of security because tokens are unique to each bank-connected MasterPass wallet and they carry EMV-based security protection.

A demonstration of a tokenised MasterPass wallet will be available next week at the Money 20/20 Conference, which will take place in Las Vegas.

Since the announcement of MDES in 2013, millions of MasterCard accounts at hundreds of banks have been tokenised for use in services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, with MDES already providing tokenisation on a range of payment cards. The tokenised MasterPass service will first be available in the US next year, before expanding across all MDES-enabled markets.

Commenting on its partnership with MasterCard and its use of MasterPass, Barry Rodrigues, head of Citi Enterprise Payments Solutions at global bank Citi, said: "We continue to see exponential growth in online purchases and in the role of connected devices in enabling commerce.

"Our customers want a simple way to make purchases online which Citi MasterPass delivers, by reducing checkout to just a few clicks. Integrating tokenisation is important to our digital payments strategy, and will deliver another layer of security for our customers."

Security and convenience the key

In light of growing levels of cybercrime around the globe, MasterCard unveiled its MasterCard Identity Check earlier this month which comprises a suite of technology solutions to prove a consumer's identity when making online payments.

In a shift away from using authentication processes that take shoppers away from a retailer or business's website, MasterCard Identity Check will aims to simplify the identity verification by using a combination of methods such as biometrics and SMS-delivered one-time passwords. MasterCard says the move should maintain security for customers while making it less likely that people will abandon their shopping carts before making a purchase.

The payments company said its investment in this area is indicative of a switch from reliance on what the consumer knows (passwords), to what they have (mobile phone or other smart device) and who they are (biometrics). Hundreds of cardholders in the Netherlands began using biometric-enabled payments in September, while a similar trial has now been launched in the US.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, commented: "Today, people shop on all sorts of devices, and they expect technology to simplify and secure the transaction. This is exactly what Identity Check delivers."

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