Mastercard to Provide Contactless Cards for Quantum World

The protections and purchasing power of contactless payments took a step forward as Mastercard (NYSE: MA) announced the approval of the first cards for issuers that are compatible “with the new EMVCo contactless specifications designed to protect against attacks from both traditional and quantum computers.”

Quantum computing, which uses principles of quantum physics to solve complex problems exponentially faster than today’s supercomputers, “holds great promise but also risk – bad actors could harness quantum computing to break the encryption that protects key systems.”

Though that possibility is likely years away, Mastercard experts “have long been exploring the potential impact of quantum computing, and in January 2021 the company introduced quantum-resistant Enhanced Contactless specifications.”

Since then, the company has worked with EMVCo “to help evolve the innovation into an industry standard for contactless acceptance that provides the best protection for the industry, businesses and consumers while offering the same speed and convenience of today’s contactless payment experience.”

Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard, said:

“Technology has the potential to open new opportunities for both consumers and fraudsters. That’s why future-proofing security is critical. By bringing quantum-era technology to contactless payments, we are taking steps to future-proof security and privacy protection as much as possible. These new cards will deliver that greater peace of mind, while also providing consumers and merchants a seamless transition from today’s contactless experience.”

The number of contactless payment devices “will surpass 12.5 billion by 2027, according to Juniper, with the value of contactless payment transactions expected to reach $10 trillion globally by that time.”

Mastercard has “a long history in developing and enhancing industry standards, as seen in its support and increased innovation around tokenization, 3-D Secure and the password-free checkout option Click to Pay, to name a few.”

The new cards are “designed to remain compatible with existing acceptance, network and issuer infrastructure and are available from Giesecke+Devrient and Thales.”

Mastercard will “continue to partner with card manufacturers and will work with its customers to set the pace of transition to these new cards in 2023 and beyond.”

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