BREAKING – MasterCard Joins the FIDO Alliance

Mastercard[1]USA Today has just reported that MasterCard is joining the authentication standards focused organization: the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance. This will mark the first major payment network to join the FIDO, signalling momentum in the area of strong zero-password authentication for online payment protection.

Yesterday in an unrelated piece about identity standards, Michael Barrett, president of FIDO, told USA Today that in six months he will be able to purchase an Android mobile device with a built-in fingerprint sensor. This, when taking into account that iPhone 5S Touch ID is already in use by Apple customers, means that the smartphone and tablet marketplace will be proliferated with personal biometric sensors used not just for logical access control, but – thanks to MasterCard’s newest membership – mobile online payments.

Speaking to USA Today, Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard commented: “Our involvement with the FIDO Alliance, as well as other activities across the industry, will help deliver strong security for consumers, merchants and issuers, as well as a great consumer experience.”

As a member of FIDO, MasterCard will have a number of strong authentication options available to it, since the Alliance has a wide scope for the types of multi-factor authentication that it is trying to standardize. That said, Frost & Sullivan’s Jean-Noel Georges, global program director ICT, financial services, is confident that the future of mobile payments is not just biometric, but specifically fingerprint authentication protected.

If the iPhone 5S announcement wasn’t enough to bring the naysayers around to the fingerprint authentication party, it seems that with MasterCard on board with FIDO, the easy security of the near future will speak for itself, and soon everyone will be saying “Rest in peace” when the topic turns to passwords.