MasterCard, Syniverse to use geolocation for card security
February 26, 2014 by Nancy Owano
Wait, wait. We know you're in Lima. How can you be buying two sofas in London? Catching you where you really are and not where thieves want to use your card elsewhere is in the works with Tuesday's announcement at Mobile World Congress that MasterCard is partnering with mobile technology company Syniverse.
The two will deliver a service to fight credit-card fraud by linking the user's card with the user's mobile phone. This will be an opt-in service and it is still in pilot-phase. Geolocation data will be key in making this work; the person will need to have both the phone and card. In order to complete any card transaction the user will need to have that mobile device switched on to a specific geolocation while abroad. A credit card user's point-of-sale details will be correlated with the geolocation of the mobile device.
The true location will be identified, reducing the likelihood that criminals have the card. The goal is to make it more difficult for unauthorized persons to buy goods with stolen cards.
The traveler-focused plan may bring peace of mind to MasterCard users expecting a secure experience while using the card away from home. At the same time, it can erase the frustration of seeing their legitimate transactions declined when trying to buy something in another country. Banks can be more confident that the purchase is by the consumer in the new location, especially helpful for international travelers.
The two companies suggested another plus, saying mobile users could have a choice of "prepaid data packages" purchased directly from their phones when they arrive in another country. According to their Tuesday announcement, "Approximately 75 million mobile phone users travel outside their home country each month, yet today 70 percent of people switch their mobile data function off when they arrive, which is likely in an effort to avoid roaming charges."
Hany Fam, MasterCard president of Global Strategic Alliances, talked to telecoms.com and Banking Technology about the partnering, referring to a trend of consumers becoming more mobile not just in the use of their digital devices but in terms of travel patterns as well, The company wanted to address the patterns of travel plus usage in the form of "a simplified and singular converged environment" where anyone can easily and securely access needed financial and mobile services.
Elsewhere, in another video, Fam said it was a union of one of the leading network technology companies in the world, processing something in the order of 65,000 transactions a minute, with Syniverse, "the MasterCard of the mobile industry," reaching more than five billion mobile devices globally via mobile service providers.