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Mastercard touts ‘quantum-resistant’ payment cards

By Dan O'Shea posted 14 Oct 2022

Mastercard announced what it claimed is the approval of the first “quantum-resistant” payment cards for card issuers, compatible with the previously announced EMVCo contactless specifications.

The company said in a statement that “the new cards are designed to remain compatible with existing acceptance, network and issuer infrastructure and are available from Giesecke+Devrient and Thales. Mastercard will continue to partner with card manufacturers and will work with its customers to set the pace of transition to these new cards in 2023 and beyond.”

It was not immediately clear what technology is being used to make the cards quantum-resistant. IQT News contacted Mastercard, and will follow up this story with further details. This week’s announcement came after a January 2021 announcement Mastercard of the development of the Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specification, which the company said at the time was designed to “future-proof” against increasing security threats, including those from quantum computing.

Since early last year, Mastercard has worked with EMVCo, the global payments industry group that works on secure transaction standards and migrations, to help evolve Ecos into an industry standard for contactless payment acceptance.

“Technology has the potential to open new opportunities for both consumers and fraudsters. That’s why future-proofing security is critical,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “By bringing quantum-era technology to contactless payments, we are taking steps to future-proof security and privacy protection as much as possible. These new cards will deliver that greater peace of mind, while also providing consumers and merchants a seamless transition from today’s contactless experience.”

Mastercard also has been active in quantum in other ways, earlier this year teaming with D-Wave Systems to explore quantum applications.

By the way, if quantum security is a primary field of interest for you, then the place to be two weeks from today is New York City for IQT’s Fall Quantum Cybersecurity event.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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