Mastercard snaps up digital identity firm Ekata in $850m deal

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Mastercard is hoping that its newly announced purchase of digital identity firm Ekata will boost its identification verification technology and help push forward the company’s framework for how digital interactions should evolve.

The deal will cost Mastercard $850 million, but the credit card giant will be able to tap into the potential of Ekata’s programming interfaces (APIs) and other tools used by merchants, e-commerce outlets and finance-focused firms across an array of business sectors.

Ekata specializes in providing artificial intelligence-enhanced risk scoring, indicators and data attributes that will benefit Mastercard’s desire to bolster its digital identity and security infrastructure.

The move will mean Mastercard will most notably benefit from Ekata’s wealth of APIs, which cover a raft of areas including transaction risk, account openings and merchant onboarding. The digital identity specialist has also developed API’s for phone intelligence and identity checking using email, phone and address details.

Digital world

"The shift to a more digital world requires real solutions to secure every transaction and instill trust in every interaction," said Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions at Mastercard. "With the addition of Ekata, we will advance our identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy."

In addition, Mastercard will exploit Ekata’s tools for speeding up the manual approvals process. The digital identity firm boasts a flagship product in the shape of Pro Insight, a powerful software-as-a-service tool, which can help analyze risk and signals.

“The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to the forefront as one of the biggest opportunities to build digital trust and combat global fraud,” said Rob Eleveld, CEO at Ekata.

"The right identity verification solutions enable inclusive and frictionless experiences while, at the same time, ensuring customer privacy, control and security. Becoming part of the Mastercard Identity family ensures a broader, collective approach to meeting the growing demands of the digital economy.”

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.