Mastercard Pivots to Blockchain for Preventing Credit Card Skimming

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Payments titan Mastercard has been granted a patent that seeks to integrate Blockchain technology for payment card verification.

Published June 7 by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the patent dubbed “Method and System for Payment Card Verification via Blockchain” was proposed in a bid to counter the rising cases of identity theft.

According to the ATM Industry Association, an estimated $2 billion is lost each year over credit card “skimming,” a method of stealing credit card data by using a skimming device at ATMs, allowing thieves to gain access to credit card information of the holders who have previously used the machine.

As Job.com’s Blockchain expert Arran Stewart stated in a Digital Trends report:

“Every year, billions of dollars are stolen through identity theft and skimming credit cards. Utilizing blockchain technology, Mastercard will be able to eradicate many of the fraudulent activities that happen through the abuse of their card services.”

In an effort to always remain a step ahead of credit card thieves, Mastercard has filed a patent that aims to place credit cards on a publicly-accessible Blockchain, thereby providing a more secure and transparent payments verification. As Stewart delineated further, Mastercard the verification process would involve encoding an image of a payment card onto the Blockchain and encrypting it via a public and private key. Upon payment completion, these private keys would be used for decrypting the card image.

Mastercard’s patent application for Blockchain-based payment card verification marks the financial services corporation’s latest Blockchain initiative. In the past, Mastercard has also previously filed a number of other patent applications that involved the integration of Blockchain technology, including systems for sending money, paying employee remunerations, voice-assisted budget setting and most notably, a system aimed to reduce fraud by providing “proof of provenance,” a system that provides a transparent supply chain to both wholesalers and consumers.

As it stands, Mastercard is not the only financial firm to explore the nascent technology’s application. With the likes of major competitors such as American Express and Visa also securing a number of patents involving Blockchain’s integration, the technology has gained a notably significant traction within the financial sector.