Trust is the key ingredient to conducting digital commerce. Central to creating trust in a digital world is the ability to prove your digital identity – who you are, whether you are interacting in person, online or in app.
Today, Mastercard (NYSE: MA) took steps to advance its identity verification efforts with the acquisition of Ekata for US$850 million.
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.
Ekata works with a wide range of global merchants, financial institutions, travel companies, marketplaces and digital currency platforms. The company uses insights to deliver unique scores, data attributes and risk indicators that businesses then use to make more informed decisions. They help their customers identify good consumers and businesses and bad actors in real-time during online account opening, payments and variety of other digital interactions.
“The shift to a more digital world requires real solutions to secure every transaction and instill trust in every interaction,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence solutions at Mastercard. “With the addition of Ekata, we will advance our identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy.”
Ekata’s identity verification data, machine learning technology and global experience combined with Mastercard’s fraud prevention and digital identity programs will help businesses confidently know who their customers are and, in turn, help those customers safely interact online. Mastercard and Ekata’s integrated services will build on both companies’ commitments to ensure trust and the responsible use of data.
“The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to the forefront as one of the biggest opportunities to build digital trust and combat global fraud,” said Rob Eleveld, CEO at Ekata, Inc. “The right identity verification solutions enable inclusive and frictionless experiences while, at the same time, ensuring customer privacy, control and security. Becoming part of the Mastercard Identity family ensures a broader, collective approach to meeting the growing demands of the digital economy.”
Ekata is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in Amsterdam, Singapore and Budapest.
Delivering on the Strategy, Strengthening Value
Commitment to Privacy, Responsibility – Ekata shares Mastercard’s commitment to safe and secure data practices centered around the individual, further reinforcing their value to the end user.
Strong Identity Technology – Ekata has built a core set of identity verification services that helps to provide the backbone of the safety and security of everyday commerce. By bringing the capabilities, technologies and teams together, there is the potential to deliver even more trust and peace of mind, well beyond identity verification and identifying fraud trends.
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.
As with past acquisitions, Mastercard does not expect this acquisition to be dilutive to its business for greater than 24 months. This dilution is driven by investments in the business, including the impact of purchase accounting and integration related costs.
The transaction is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions. It is anticipated to close within the next six months.