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‘Pay with a smile’: Mastercard CEO on how we will buy in the future

Mastercard opened its European Cyber Resilience Centre (ECRC) in Belgium at the end of May, a new hub where its own staff will work alongside representatives of banks and law enforcement to help secure commerce and payment systems in the region.

“The awareness is there, the efforts are there, the willingness to collaborate across the private sector and the public sector [is there], but every day, the threats are increasing, so I'm not going to sit here and say, yeah, we're ready for this because we are not, you will not be,” Miebach said.

“But you can always try to stay a step ahead, work on the assumption something will happen and how will we react and how do we minimise the impact? How do we educate? How do we do skill-building?,” Mastercard’s CEO added.

Whilst Europe may not quite be ready for AI cyber attacks in all its forms, it is hoped Mastercard’s new centre will sharpen defences against threats, speed up response times and foster collaboration between the public and private sectors.


“We have to do a better job to have cyber security oriented curriculums, training efforts that are not four year degrees but a little more modular so we can speed up and we have the cyber workforce that will keep Europe safe,” Miebach added.

In this episode of The Big Question, Euronews’ Business Editor Angela Barnes sits down with Mastercard chief executive, Michael Miebach to discuss what the future of payments could look like within the next decade - and whether Europe is ready for the new wave of AI cyber security risks.

Would you spot a deepfake?

On the risk trends Mastercard is seeing, Miebach highlighted how generative AI is coming more into the frame and said deepfakes and scams are hard to recognise, making it challenging for smaller companies to combat.

“My team has gone to lengths to demonstrate this to me as well, by creating a deepfake. It was very convincing. It was really good to see that because it raises the sense of urgency because people have seen what is possible so we better get our act together and collaborate to push back on cybercrime.

“So there's opportunity, there's risk, as in most things in life, and I think what we need to do is take that same technology and make sure we leverage it to minimise the risk.”

Despite the risks it can present, Miebach explained how AI can be used to fight back against threats. Rather than stopping suspicious transactions once they’ve already happened, AI can predict what might happen.

“Your card data might have been compromised, nothing has happened yet, but there's a certain transaction pattern that now looks different than in the past when only you were using it, and we can stop it immediately.”

How will we pay for goods in the future?

Moving on, Miebach also shared his thoughts on what the future of payments could look like in the next ten years - and said we can expect to pay “with a smile”.

“How about that? Biometric technology. So yes, you pay today with your fingerprint or, you know, with a password or whatever you do today, but we could replace, whatever security really with the person and it could be, a facial imprint.

“It sounds like a nice tagline, but now we've taken that live in South America, we're now taking it into Asia and it will come to Europe at some point in time.

“Biometric authentication is the most secure way to do that. And it's easy and it's exciting and it takes everybody along because anybody can do that,” the Mastercard chief exec added.

The Big Question is a series from Euronews Business where we sit down with industry leaders and experts to discuss some of the most important topics on today’s agenda.

Click on the above video to watch the full interview on The Big Question.