Mastercard (NYSE: MA) today announced it has completed its acquisition of Ekata, a leading provider of identity verification services that help businesses make more informed decisions during online account opening, payments and a variety of other digital interactions.
“We’re delighted to welcome the Ekata team to Mastercard,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber and Intelligence, Mastercard. “Our focus will now be on bringing our talented teams together and advancing our identity capabilities to create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy. Central to all of this is the balance of a frictionless experience with the trust delivered through a relentless commitment to customer privacy, control and security.”
Proving your identity is critical to creating trust in our increasingly digital world. And for those who do not have an official identification, they face greater barriers to financial inclusion and health inclusion.
Ekata’s identity verification data, machine learning technology and global experience will add to Mastercard’s fraud prevention and digital identity programs. The combined services will help businesses confidently know who their customers are and, in turn, help those customers safely interact online, while continuing to advocate and support the responsible use of data.
Mastercard announced last April that is was to acquire Ekata for US$850 million, thus announcing its intent to enter the digital identity business.
“Digital identity is a foundational part of Mastercard’s multi-layered approach to security. In 2019, the company introduced a new framework on how digital interactions should evolve, as well as how digital identity will build trust, collaboration and economic growth. That framework is now in use across a number of sectors, from education to travel to healthcare.”
“The closure of the deal makes this intention a reality, rattling the chains of smaller players in the identity field [editorial comment].”
Complementary Expertise – The addition of Ekata’s technology and engineering teams will help bolster the support Mastercard can provide as a one-stop partner for any consumer, bank, merchant, fintech or government’s data, payment and open banking needs. The combined capabilities across digital-first, installment and crypto payment services will help to enable greater choice and functionality, with the potential to expand further to real-time payments and cross-border activities.
Together, Mastercard and Ekata will deliver a more comprehensive identity service that can power real-time decision-making needs, from new account openings to helping merchants assess potential fraud before a payment transaction is authorized.