MasterCard Organizes Group for Digital IDs

The idea of smart card implementation in the United States may have taken one step closer to becoming reality last week after 11 vendors agreed to sign up as part of a new group formed by MasterCard International Inc. to address digital identification.

The group, which will operate as a subunit of MasterCard International's Chip Vendor Services Program (CVSP), will investigate the authentication of cardholders deploying mobile and electronic transactions, according to Gail Francolini, vice president of global chip relationship management at MasterCard International.

The group is expected to spur the implementation of integrated smart card, digital ID-based applications to cardholders within MasterCard's member financial institutions by lining up a selection of qualified providers offering turnkey solutions.

"Demand for a more secure way of conducting transactions in both mobile and electronic-commerce channels is definitely needed," Francolini said. "That's what banks are looking to do through smart cards. [The group] is another tool to make this implementation as seamless as possible."

Smart card identification has been slow to catch on in the United States, said Ron Enderle, an analyst at based Giga Information Group (US) In Europe, smart cards are an attractive alternative to the continent's fragmented currency, Enderle said.

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