MasterCard is to offer reduced transaction charges for merchants that use its SecureCode service to authenticate online customers. Under the programme, merchants will be eligible for discounted charges up to 16% lower than the fees associated with face-to-face transactions.
The company also said it would offer free network vulnerability scans for merchants under a new programme, to encourage them to adopt policies designed to protect consumer data.
SecureCode is a MasterCard service that allows merchants to authenticate online customers by requiring them to enter a passcode known only to the cardholders and the issuing banks. To be SecureCode-compliant, merchants must install a plug-in application and ensure that their transaction processor also supports the programme.
SecureCode links the cardholder to a specific online transaction, in a similar way to how a signature is recognised in the physical world, thereby reducing fraud and unauthorised cardholder chargebacks, MasterCard said.
MasterCard’s offer of free network vulnerability scans for any merchant is an attempt to get merchants started on the right foot and educate them on how such scans work and how to interpret the results.
The incentives offered by MasterCard –especially the vulnerability scanning - are a good idea. Consumers’ data must be protected, though following the recent spate of examples of lost data, you could be forgiven for thinking protection was more an afterthought than a priority.