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Mastercard goes quantum for contactless payments

Mastercard is applying quantum-resistant technologies to develop contactless payments.

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Mastercard’s Singapore office announced it is applying the latest quantum-resistant technologies to develop the next generation of contactless payments so that consumers continue to enjoy high levels of security and convenience for decades to come.

The new Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications are an industry first, and will help ensure contactless technology is future-proofed as the dynamic digital landscape evolves and new technologies like quantum computing are introduced. 

The demand for faster, more convenient, safer and now cleaner ways to pay has driven the transition to contactless. This trend will only continue to grow. In fact, in the third quarter of 2020, contactless penetration represented 41% of in-person purchase transactions globally, up 30% from a year ago. 



Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless payments for years and developing specifications like Ecos to support industry standardization efforts and ensure the entire ecosystem benefits from higher levels of security. 

“Contactless is the present and future of in-person payments. 2020 brought with it a rapid acceleration of digitization and reinforced the importance of digital solutions – like contactless – to help meet our everyday needs,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence, at Mastercard.

“As the ecosystem continues to evolve, more connected devices and the Internet of Things are going to create more user demand and an even greater need for constant innovation to build next-generation capability, helping to ensure that technology never outpaces trust.”

As the new specifications are activated over the coming years, consumers and merchants can expect a seamless transition. Digital wallets, mobile payments, contactless cards and point-of-sale terminals will continue to work as they do today. 

Compatibility with Ecos and current contactless specifications is simple. Ecos works behind the scenes and is delivered via a software upgrade, meaning no new hardware or terminals are required. This investment complements similar ones in tokenization, 3-D Secure and Click to Pay, delivering a better consumer and merchant experience.  

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Mastercard goes quantum for contactless payments