The past few years have seen massive advances in payment technology, and many of those changes have focused on minimizing fraud. Chip cards continue to account for more and more transactions, for instance, and by now the major benefits in slowing down fraud have become clear. PCI, too, is now enforcing the upcoming TLS changeover to make sure companies are not using dangerous, out-of-date tech.

The arms race between payments and hackers
Of course, there’s no one final answer to the difficult problems of security—it’s always an arms race between the payment industry and fraudsters. As chip cards have made card-present fraud more difficult, for instance, many criminals have moved online.

One recent effort in payment security is MasterCard’s biometric card, which combines chip technology with biometrics, though this product is still a long ways from the US. When a cardholder receives the card, they register their thumbprint with a financial institution, which is then stored as a sensor on the card. During every use, the user’s thumbprint is verified against the original fingerprint template.

Revealed in late April, it’s now being tested in South Africa. Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security for MasterCard, said that the company is very excited about the technology.

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Bhalla. “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

A great next step
While there is no final answer to the difficult process of preventing fraud, efforts like these are always important. There's no silver bullet for security, but the collection of efforts from all the players in the industry combine to form a safer payment process.

The one certainty in payments is that you’ve always got to stay one step ahead of hackers, or else you’ll lose credibility. Earlier this year, Cayan CEO Henry Helgeson talked about the ramp up of online fraud, and the importance of keeping data safe. Like Bhalla, Helgeson notes how crucial it is for a business to keep customer information safe.

“The payments industry will need to implement more resilient systems and more ways to route transactions in the wake of attacks,” he wrote, “or they risk lost customers and revenue.”

It’s advice that will always stay relevant, whether today or ten years from now. Keeping customer data secure is one of the pillars of payments.

​​Fighting the Never-Ending Battle Against Fraud