Mastercard unveils enhanced contactless payment specifications

Wearable using Mastercard enhanced contactless specification
ENHANCED: Mastercard Ecos aims to ensure greater security when paying using any form of contactless device

Mastercard has announced new specifications for contactless payments that will offer quantum-resistant security via “next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths”, enhanced privacy at the checkout and “help ensure any device truly can be a payment device”.

“The new Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications are an industry first and will help ensure that as our dynamic digital landscape evolves, and new technologies like quantum computing are introduced, contactless technology is future proofed to ensure consumers will continue to enjoy the same high levels of security and convenience they do today, in the decades to come,” Mastercard says.

“With Ecos, consumers, merchants and financial institutions will benefit from:

  • Enhanced Convenience — Over time, we envision that the in-store shopping experience will become increasingly contactless only. These new specifications will help ensure any device truly can be a payment device, while eliminating the need for a backup swipe or dip of a card.
  • Enhanced Trust — Ecos leverages new, quantum-resistant technology to deliver next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths while keeping the contactless interaction under half a second.
  • Enhanced Privacy — The new specifications deliver advanced 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.

“As the new specifications are activated over the coming years, consumers and merchants can expect a seamless transition,” Mastercard adds. “Digital wallets, mobile payments, contactless cards and point-of-sale terminals will continue to work as they do today.

“Compatibility with Ecos and current contactless specifications is simple. Ecos works behind the scenes and is delivered via a software upgrade, therefore no new hardware or terminals are required.” 

A short promotional video outlines Mastercard’s vision for the new specifications:

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