This post was originally published on MasterCard’s blog, Beyond the Transaction.
Occasionally, a technology advancement comes along that can change the game for the way an entire business function is performed. E-commerce software moved selling from brick-and-mortar stores to the Web. Enterprise resource planning systems integrated multiple business department functions into single real-time operations. And now the advancement of mobile technology that has given rise to today’s mobile-first consumer is transforming the level of security and peace of mind for cashless payments.
This advancement forms the foundation of a strategic relationship between MasterCard and Syniverse, and it was recently reflected in the announcement of set of expanded services by MasterCard that give cardholders greater control and peace of mind. Our collaboration is yet one more example of a new age of innovation for mobile technology and payment card service capabilities that is considerably strengthening the security of payment card transactions and improving the convenience of making cashless transactions.
Syniverse is particularly suited to play a central role in this innovation. From our position at the center of the mobile ecosystem, we have an unparalleled capability to bridge mobile service providers with other kinds of companies to enable the secure transmission of massive amounts of mobile data. We now connect more than 1,000 operators and nearly 600 other enterprises in almost 200 countries. And our reach provides connections to more than 6 billion mobile devices around the world.
With our capabilities, Syniverse has been working with MasterCard to develop services to enhance peace of mind for MasterCard customers when they travel abroad, and to address a common challenge for cardholders in general. The challenge is that, surprisingly, up to 80 percent of the payment transactions that are declined while people travel abroad are actually legitimate, which creates a big headache for consumers, retailers and financial institutions alike.
The MasterCard and Syniverse solution takes on this challenge by using geolocation, and more broadly an asset we call “mobile context,” to verify that a cardholder is at the same place as their mobile device when a transaction is attempted. Mobile context is insight into mobile subscriber information, behavior and location that is available to mobile operators and that – with the explicit opt-in of subscribers – can be offered to companies so they can act on this data to provide more personalized customer services. Our joint solution, which is now in service in the U.K., uses mobile context data, specifically geolocation data, to enable transactions for cardholders only when they have their mobile device switched on in a specific location abroad.
Consider when a traveler at a department store in a foreign country attempts to buy a coat. At checkout, when the card transaction is initiated, the traveler’s bank detects that a purchase is being attempted outside her home country. Often, this could result in the transaction being declined and the cardholder having an embarrassing customer experience. She may have to pull out another card to complete the transaction or even use cash to pay. Now, however, this kind of “false positive” transaction denial can be avoided when cardholders opt in to a geolocation service, like the MasterCard and Syniverse solution, which uses the cardholder’s global mobile device location information as a crucial piece of information to authorize a card transaction.
The service has been launched in the U.K. and aims to make great progress in lowering consumers’ frustrations related to having their transactions unnecessarily declined when trying to make purchases in another country, as well as having their payment cards used without their knowledge.
We look forward to continuing to build this capability and other services with MasterCard. The advancement in today’s mobile technology and rise of today’s mobile-empowered consumer have truly opened a new era of innovation for cashless payments. MasterCard and Syniverse see great potential in advanced services, and we expect they will go a long way toward providing greater peace of mind for cardholders.