Mastercard (NYSE: MA) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) today announced a strategic collaboration to improve how people manage and use their digital identity.
Currently, verifying your identity online is still dependent on physical or digital proof managed by a central party, whether it’s your passport number, your proof of address, driver’s license, user credentials or other means. This dependence places a huge burden on individuals, who have to successfully remember hundreds of passwords for various identities and are increasingly being subjected to more complexity in proving their identity and managing their data. Working together, Mastercard and Microsoft aim to give people a secure, instant way to verify their digital identity with whomever they want, whenever they want.
The answer to these challenges is a service that would allow individuals to enter, control and share their identity data their way – on the devices they use every day. That’s Mastercard’s intention, working closely with players like Microsoft.
“Today’s digital identity landscape is patchy, inconsistent and what works in one country often won’t work in another. We have an opportunity to establish a system that puts people first, giving them control of their identity data and where it is used,” says Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Mastercard. “Working with Microsoft brings us one step closer to making a globally interoperable digital identity service a reality, and we look forward to sharing more very soon.”
Access to a universally-recognized digital identity could unlock new and enhanced experiences for people as they interact with businesses, service providers and their community online, including:
- Financial Services: Improve and speed the applicant identification process for establishing a new bank account, loan or payment service account
- Commerce: Enable a more personalized and efficient shopping experience online and in stores, regardless of the payment type, device or service provider
- Government Services: Simplify interactions with government agencies and services – such as filing taxes, applying for passports or securing support payments (e.g., Social Security)
- Digital Services: Streamline and provide easier use of email, social media, movie/music streaming services, and rideshare platforms
“Digital identity is a cornerstone of how people live, work and play every day,” said Joy Chik, corporate vice president, Identity, Microsoft. “We believe people should be in control of their digital identity and data, and we’re thrilled to first work with Mastercard to bring new decentralized identity innovations to life.”
This digital identity initiative could also help solve for common challenges:
- Identity Inclusion: More than 1 billion people, a majority of them women, children and refugees, are not officially recognized; a digital identity can improve their access to health, financial and social services.
- Identity Verification: A single, reusable digital identity can help people interact with a merchant, bank, government agency and countless other digital service providers with greater integrity, lower cost and with less friction.
- Fraud Prevention: A single digital identity can help reduce payments fraud and identity theft of various forms.
This initiative will serve as the foundation for new Mastercard services powered by Microsoft Azure and built-in collaboration with leaders in the banking, mobile network operator and government communities. Microsoft and Mastercard are bringing together their respective strengths – Microsoft’s expertise in identity technology and Mastercard’s expertise in securely orchestrating digital interactions in a complex, multi-stakeholder ecosystem.
Additional details on these efforts will be shared in the coming months.