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‘Biometrics is the future for credit card security’

Mastercard’s global head of cyber security tells The Daily Telegraph's journalist Natasha Bernal how tech advances are driven by demand from consumers. Ajay Bhalla is in the business of predicting the future. His mission for the last four years has been almost inconceivable: to guarantee the security of more than 70bn transactions processed every day. Technology built by Bhalla’s team is able to predict when fraudsters will try to steal credit card details and alert the bank in advance so transactions can be blocked. “We are getting into predicting what card number could get compromised in future,” he explains. “We have solutions for early detection now which advise a bank in advance, saying that we believe based on the statistics and data that we have seen that these cards are going to present a problem. It’s being used by banks globally.” Mastercard’s obsessive drive to stop hackers with predictive technology has already produced results, he claims. “It has to date stopped $5bn (£3.9bn) in fraud, not to mention consumer pain,” says Bhalla. The objective is to develop a system so impermeable that hackers simply can’t figure out how to break into it – something he has worked on since he took the role in 2014. Late last year, Bhalla’s company entered into a partnership with Microsoft to develop a “digital identity”, the online equivalent of a passport that would allow people to verify their identity on email, social media and government services. This could replace documents including driving licences, passports or national insurance numbers.

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