April 26, 2021 at 03:00PM

As the last 12 months have driven a focus on technology and digital ecosystems, it’s become more important than ever to prove identity seamlessly and securely. Chris Reid, executive vice president of identity solutions, NuData Security, Mastercard, discusses what it will take to ensure secure payments while reducing economic and social divides and driving greater inclusion. Read more in The Connected Economy’s Power Source – CEO Edition.

For people and businesses of all sizes, these have been among the toughest 12 months in living memory. In that time, technology has been our collective support and a crucial ally in responding to the pandemic and getting the global economy moving again. Recent research we spearheaded, alongside The Fletcher School at Tufts University, revealed that economies with developed digital ecosystems are better positioned to transition out of difficult periods like this.

But we must ensure that the unprecedented digital adoption and speed of innovation that we’ve seen during this period doesn’t result in people being left behind. For progress to create prosperity, everyone must be included.

And technology has the power to do just that — to connect people and include them. As a technology company, we have a responsibility to protect and safeguard every interaction, and to engender trust in our digital networks. Widespread trust in the digital ecosystem is essential to ensuring that all people can reap the benefits.

The fundamental factor in achieving this, and facilitating trust in digital interactions, is identity. How do you trust someone you don’t know, can’t see and who isn’t physically present? The ability to prove identity seamlessly and securely, in both the digital and physical worlds, is vital — whether shopping online, talking to a government department or opening a bank account. And increasingly, digital identity applies to both people and devices.

The technology to prove a user’s identity shouldn’t be an obstacle to accessing digital and online services. Instead, it should work to support the user, verifying who they are while providing a seamless experience. Technologies such as NuData’s behavioral biometrics, which look at the inherent behavior of a user without disrupting them, are helping companies in this quest for better online user verification while protecting accounts from impersonators.

Digital identity will prove to be one of the biggest factors in solving some of the most fundamental challenges we face: reducing economic and social divides and driving greater inclusion. At Mastercard, we are committed to supporting that global effort. Last year, we doubled our inclusion commitment, with the aim of bringing one billion people into the digital economy by 2025. We have also promised to enable 50 million small and micro businesses to tap into the benefits of digitalization via a new investment fund to support their financial security. In addition, the Mastercard Trust Center was created earlier this year to help these businesses defend themselves, through free online access to trusted cybersecurity research, education, resources and tools.

We can’t do all of this alone. It will take a coordinated effort across a range of government and private sector partners to deliver necessary change. Payments and security technologies are the glue that connects businesses across sectors and ecosystems, and they can be a major driver of inclusivity in commerce. But we must build trust in the technological innovation required for this continued economic and social progress.

Identity In An Inclusive Digital Economy …

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