MasterCard credit cards getting Intel Inside

By , CardRatings contributor
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Consumers used to seeing "Intel Inside" stamped on their computers could soon enjoy similar technology in their credit cards, thanks to an alliance between the chip maker and payment platform provider MasterCard. This month, the companies announced a strategic collaboration to explore streamlined customer experiences that include enhanced payment security.

In a statement to reporters, company officials cheered the partnership as an opportunity to build upon their existing technology. MasterCard PayPass brought contactless credit cards into wider use within the United States, while Intel's Identity Protection Technology already powers some of today's most innovative point-of-sale terminals. Together, the pair announced plans to combine their technology into a two-factor authentication system that will help protect consumers from identity theft.

According to Intel spokesman George Thangadurai, the partnership's goals already include replicating the PayPass experience for online shoppers. As General Manager of Intel's PC Client Services Division, Thangadurai explained that manufacturers could embed versions of a PayPass reader into future models of their notebook computers. Tapping a credit card directly on a notebook's touchpad, for instance, would transmit secure payment information directly to a merchant. The improved customer experience would eliminate the need to type in a credit card number, while securing customer information from viruses and malware.

MasterCard's Google partnership expands

MasterCard's other major technology partnership continues to grow, with Gap Inc. announcing its first set of stores equipped for Google Wallet transactions. The Silicon Valley company's contactless payment system uses the same specifications as MasterCard's PayPass. Shoppers at select Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores in the San Francisco Bay area will be able to use an NFC-enabled smartphone or a PayPass credit card for fast transactions beginning this holiday season.

In a post to Gap's official blog, company spokesman Nick Sheth expressed enthusiasm about the technology's ability to do more than speed up the checkout process. "With Google Wallet you can not only pay for your new pair of Gap jeans, but also find and redeem promotions being offered in our stores while you shop," Sheth wrote. He also announced a special promotion, offering Google Wallet users an extra 15 percent off their purchases through February 2012.

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