Mastercard has revealed that it is enhancing contactless payments by applying the latest quantum-resistant technologies.

The payments giant designed the Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications to increase the security and convenience of contactless payments. By applying quantum-resistant technologies, Mastercard is able to protect consumer data using code-breaking quantum computers.

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

“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.”

According to Mastercard, in Q3 of 2020, contactless penetration represented 41% of in-person purchase transactions globally, up 30% from a year ago.

Ecos features

Mastercard’s contactless specifications were designed to enhance convenience, trust, and privacy.

For instance, Ecos leverages quantum-resistant technology to deliver next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths while keeping the contactless interaction under half a second.

Furthermore, the specifications deliver protection when account information is shared between the card or digital wallet and the checkout terminal. Ecos builds on the increased requirements to support various privacy regulations.

Mastercard has said that as the new specifications are activated over the coming years, consumers and merchants can expect a seamless transition.

The company expects digital wallets, mobile payments, contactless cards and point-of-sale terminals to continue to work as they do today.

Mastercard also explained that Ecos integration will be simple as it is delivered via a software upgrade, with no need for new hardware or terminals.