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Mastercard launches contactless card for the quantum computing era

In Q1 2021, Mastercard saw 1 billion more contactless transactions compared to the same period in 2020, and in Q2 2021, 45% of all in-person checkout transactions globally were contactless.

Mastercard contactless card for the quantum era

To cope with explosion of contactless payments and to manage the security of the ever popular payment method Mastercard has developed a new type of contactless card that incorporates quantum cryptography, designed to protect against hacks from current classical computers and future quantum computers.

The enhanced contactless card uses standards specified by EMVCo known as “the EMV Contactless Kernel Specifications” that work with all existing payment terminals while also providing higher levels of security that are “future proof”.

When quantum computing technology reaches a point known as quantum supremacy, where the machines can perform near errorless calculations impossible with classical computers, it will also render current cryptography solutions simple to crack, meaning specific quantum security will be required.

Experts expect this point to be reached by 2025-2027.

Mastercard says the new card is a “significant milestone that brings quantum-era security and privacy protection to card payments”.

It will come with next-generation algorithms and cryptographic keys that have been designed to be fast, ensuring a contactless payment happens in under half a second, along with enhanced privacy protections to reduce the amount of account information shared between the consumer device and merchant terminal.

There are predicted to be more than 12.5 billion contactless payment devices in active use by 2027 and transactions made using these devices will top $10 trillion globally.

Mastercard says it expects to begin the transition to these new cards at pace in 2023, providing the specifications for various card manufacturers.


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