Mastercard says it will meet Dec-end target for data localisation in India

Mastercard is confident of completing its data localisation requirements in India by the end of this year. However, says the card payments major, restricting data flows in digital transactions will affect the quality of fraud detection and assessment. 

“We are totally committed. In fact, we are in full execution mode...And, we remain completely committed to the end of the year (deadline) that we have given to the Reserve Bank of India. So, I don't see a challenge on the question of data localisation," said Ari Sarker, its Asia-Pacific co-president.

However, he adds, this restricting of cross-border data flow and storing data only in India will impact fraud detection and management.

As an example, says Mastercard, it stores only aggregate and anonymised data, such as the amount spent on a transaction, the account number and so on. If an Indian travels abroad the card gets compromised there, and the fraudster uses these credentials to withdraw money from different ATMs in different country locations, it will be difficult for the person to know on a real-time basis that such fraud is happening. 

Similarly, if a fraud trend is detected in different countries and Indian transaction data is disconnected from world data, fraud detection engines here will end up getting built only on local trends.

"Our data scientists tell us that for the sake of accuracy of the trend, you need 13 months of data — then, you can really see how behaviour patterns actually shift. That's the historical perspective you need to create...our view on that (data localisation) is it's actually not in India's interest," Sarker said.

New ID check

Mastercard will go live on Google Pay, the information technology giant's payments app, launched first in India as Google Tez in 2017. "We're going to be live with Google in the first quarter (of the next financial year). The essence is tokenised credentials or pass-through credentials  working through Google Pay. The reason we're going first quarter is also because we're also delivering our ID Check capability together with it. It will be a better product capability once we launch through Google Pay," Sarker said. 

Last month, Google Pay launched a feature called tokenised cards. This will let users add debit and credit cards to the Google Pay application, which has so far worked only on the Unified Payments Platform in India.

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