How Mastercard is leveraging AI to revolutionise the e-payment experienceNovember 13, 2023
This article was first published on CNA.
The payments technology giant is reshaping the commerce landscape, personalising user journeys and bolstering online safety.
Each time we make an e-payment, we could be taking a step towards a future where digital travel agents can tailor our vacations to our preferences, and retailers can provide effortless check-out options along with well-timed promotions for savvy shoppers.
The increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to make this future a reality. Projections indicate that by 2025, there will be 41 billion Internet of Things devices in circulation, generating 80 zettabyes (or 80 billion terabytes) of AI data.
“With such astounding numbers, AI will soon be viewed the same way we see electricity today – as an omnipresent tool helping to power various aspects of our lives,” said Mr Sandeep Malhotra, Mastercard’s executive vice-president for products and innovation (Asia Pacific).
Where security meets convenience
While Mastercard is in the midst of developing and deploying a broad range of new AI-powered services and products, it has already put this technology to work for over a decade, particularly in the realm of cybersecurity.
“Last year, we harnessed AI to protect over 125 billion payment transactions for our diverse user base, which includes banks, financial institutions, governments and individual consumers. This approach prevented billions of dollars from being lost to cybercriminals through fraudulent activity,” said Mr Malhotra. “In the first six months of this year alone, our Safety Net platform declined over 100 million attempted fraud transactions before they could impact the issuing bank, preventing disruptions and losses for the end-consumer. The ability to process and monitor such vast amounts of data on a global scale simply wouldn’t be possible without AI.”
Mastercard is also developing new anti-fraud tools to evaluate weaknesses in financial institutions’ systems, as well as utilising generative AI to create synthetic transaction data, which it can then use to hone its fraud detection models.
AI’s impact goes beyond asset protection; it is about elevating the quality of everyday experiences for individuals. Said Mr Malhotra: “We’re looking at a future where digital shopping agents can help you find the items you want, and digital travel agents can plan your itinerary, even providing an AI-generated preview of your vacation. Today, with users’ permission, we can already use AI to analyse purchase history, preferences and interests, tailoring websites and building bespoke loyalty programmes that are highly personalised.”
Last year, Mastercard piloted its Biometric Checkout Program, which enables shoppers to pay for their purchases simply by smiling at a camera or waving their hand over a reader for a fast and secure check-out experience. Moreover, the service can be integrated with loyalty programmes and personalised recommendations to help consumers find products they might be interested in based on previous purchases, added Mr Malhotra.
Innovation that promotes inclusion
AI can also be useful in making financial services more inclusive, particularly in the area of granting credit. Mastercard uses machine learning to support its open banking solutions, including credit scoring, financial management insights, account opening and payments.
“This technology allows lenders to analyse consumer data, such as bills or banking transactions, to assess if consumers are able to repay a loan or afford a credit line,” explained Mr Malhotra. “This process has led to enhanced credit modelling that opens credit to more people, increasing financial inclusivity for traditionally underserved consumers.”
To stay on top of the fast-evolving digital landscape, Mastercard employs data scientists and AI technologists, as well as a growing team of AI governance experts to ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically. In addition, Mastercard’s Data Responsibility Imperative establishes a public pledge that emphasises individuals’ rights regarding data ownership and usage.
“When it comes to data, Mastercard is committed to responsible and human-centred innovation. To safeguard individuals from the misuse, bias and dissemination of misinformation through data and AI, we have implemented AI governance in accordance with our data responsibility principles to ensure that personal information remains just that – personal,” said Mr Malhotra.
Visit Mastercard to explore the latest innovations in payments.
Learn more about the future of finance at the Singapore FinTech Festival from Nov 15 to 17, 2023.