One-Click Online Payments: Mastercard’s New Era of Secure Ecommerce


A new era of one-click online payments is on the horizon, promising to simplify the shopping experience and enhance security. Today, physical transactions are swift and secure, with card or mobile device taps on readers instantly authenticating credentials and authorizing transactions. Online transactions should offer the same level of simplicity, safety, and convenience. To achieve this, Mastercard is collaborating with banks, fintechs, merchants, and other partners to eliminate manual card entry for e-commerce in Europe by 2030. This initiative introduces a one-click payment button compatible with any online platform, setting a precedent for other markets to follow.

Since their inception in the late 1950s and 1960s, credit cards have undergone significant transformations. Early processes were cumbersome, with clerks manually checking card numbers against booklets of invalid numbers or contacting banks for authorization. The 1970s and 1980s saw the introduction of zip-zap machines, which imprinted card numbers on carbon paper packets. These machines eventually gave way to magnetic stripes and electronic payment terminals, followed by chip cards.

Typing in card information for online purchases has been the norm since the 1990s. Storing credentials with multiple merchants made payments easier but also created opportunities for hackers to target merchant sites and steal consumer card information. A study last year forecasted that merchant losses from online payment fraud will exceed $91 billion by 2028.

In response, we developed tokenization a decade ago. This technology replaces your 16-to-19-digit card number with a randomly generated one, ensuring that actual card information is never transmitted during transactions. If hackers steal your token in a data breach, it is essentially useless. In 2013, Mastercard developed the tokenization standard, which was adopted by EMVCo, the consortium managing global payment standards. The following year, Mastercard launched the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service, which was part of the Apple Pay launch.

Today, about one in four Mastercard transactions globally are tokenized, with a 50% annual growth rate. Tokenization has proven effective in reducing e-commerce fraud and improving approval rates. It alleviates the security burden on merchants, payment service providers, and banks while increasing confidence in the digital economy. Enabled by the issuing bank, tokenization requires no effort from consumers and does not necessitate reissuing existing cards. It even simplifies automatic payments; for instance, if your card for Netflix payments expires, your token doesn’t, so you don’t need to update your card information.

Tokenization is the first step towards transforming online checkout. We are also facilitating the integration of Click to Pay, our online checkout solution, into merchant sites and enabling bank partners to make Click to Pay a default card feature through cardholder auto-enrollment. Furthermore, we are introducing payment passkeys for online transactions, using on-device biometric authentication, eliminating the need for passwords or one-time passcodes. Cardholders can easily create Mastercard passkeys during a checkout flow or within their issuer’s banking app.

By combining these innovations, we can replicate the security, simplicity, and speed of contactless payments in the physical world for online transactions. Collaborating with issuing and acquiring banks, we aim to bring this new era of one-click online payments to fruition sooner than expected.

Image: Envato

Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.