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Mastercard, Microsoft Join Forces to Advance Digital Identity Innovations

By on December 4, 2018

SAN JUAN – Mastercard, whose payments network operates worldwide, and global software and device giant Microsoft, announced Tuesday a strategic collaboration to improve how people manage and use their digital identity in a “secure, instant way,” that is expected to be revealed “in the coming months.”

In a joint release, the global companies explained that since verifying one’s identity online “is still dependent on physical or digital proof managed by a central party, whether it’s your passport number, your proof of address, driver’s license, user credentials or other means,” this dependence “places a huge burden on individuals, who have to successfully remember hundreds of passwords for various identities and are increasingly being subjected to more complexity in proving their identity and managing their data.”

The answer, they said, is a service that would allow individuals to enter, control and share their identity data “their way” on the devices people use.

“Today’s digital identity landscape is patchy, inconsistent and what works in one country often won’t work in another. We have an opportunity to establish a system that puts people first, giving them control of their identity data and where it is used,” says Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Mastercard. “Working with Microsoft brings us one step closer to making a globally interoperable digital identity service a reality, and we look forward to sharing more very soon.”

Access to a universally recognized digital identity “could unlock new and enhanced experiences for people as they interact with businesses, service providers and their community online,” the release reads and includes the following:

  • Financial Services: Improve and speed the applicant identification process for establishing a new bank account, loan or payment service account
  • Commerce: Enable a more personalized and efficient shopping experience online and in stores, regardless of the payment type, device or service provider
  • Government Services: Simplify interactions with government agencies and services – such as filing taxes, applying for passports or securing support payments (e.g., Social Security)
  • Digital Services: Streamline and provide easier use of email, social media, movie/music streaming services, and rideshare platforms

“We believe people should be in control of their digital identity and data, and we’re thrilled to first work with Mastercard to bring new decentralized identity innovations to life,” said Joy Chik, corporate vice president, Identity, Microsoft.

This digital identity initiative could also help solve for common challenges, the companies added, such as:

  • Identity Inclusion: More than 1 billion people, a majority of them women, children and refugees, are not officially recognized; a digital identity can improve their access to health, financial and social services.
  • Identity Verification: A single, reusable digital identity can help people interact with a merchant, bank, government agency and countless other digital service providers with greater integrity, lower cost and with less friction.
  • Fraud Prevention: A single digital identity can help reduce payments fraud and identity theft of various forms.

This initiative will serve as the foundation for new Mastercard services powered by Microsoft Azure and “built in collaboration with leaders in the banking, mobile network operator and government communities.”

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