Mastercard launches ‘enhanced’ contactless payments

(Image credit: shutterstock)

Mastercard has launched Ecos, the latest evolution of its contactless payment system, promising more efficient and secure transactions through using the latest 'quantum-resistant' technologies.

In what Mastercard claims is an industry-first, the Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) system incorporates a more secure, future-proof contactless payment design. 

Its development has been accelerated by the increasing need for touch-free transaction options. Mastercard’s own figures indicate the continuing rising demand for contactless payments - with coverage extended to 41% of in-person transactions globally in the third quarter of 2020 - up 30% compared to 12 months ago.

Ecos has been engineered to improve the contactless payment process for consumers, but it will also benefit merchants and financial institutions by helping to move the industry towards standardization.

Contactless transactions

The new system aims to deliver more stable transactions. In everyday use that could mean consumers won't need to carry out a secondary swipe or dip of a card at POS terminals as they often have to do currently.

Similarly, Ecos is designed to offer more secure contactless transactions, with the quantum-resistant technology incorporating next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths. Mastercard claims this will speed up transactions while making them more secure.

Adding extra security appeal is enhanced privacy functionality, allowing card or digital wallet information to be better protected during transactions with checkout terminals. However, all of the developments around the Ecos system will allow it to work with existing cards, digital wallets and point of sale terminals.

“Contactless is the present and future of in-person payments,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “2020 brought with it a rapid acceleration of digitization and reinforced the importance of digital solutions - like contactless - to help meet our everyday needs.

As the ecosystem continues to evolve, more connected devices and the Internet of Things are going to create more user demand and an even greater need for constant innovation to build next-generation capability, helping to ensure that technology never outpaces trust.”

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.