Mastercard to Acquire Digital Identity Specialist Ekata for $850 Million

Mastercard’s announced $850 million acquisition of digital identity firm Ekata is a reminder that there is no way forward in digital commerce without a 21st century attitude toward issues of security and trust.

“The shift to a more digital world requires real solutions to secure every transaction and instill trust in every interaction,” Mastercard president of cyber and intelligence solutions Ajay Bhalla said. “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.”

Seattle, Washington-based Ekata offers global identity verification to enable businesses around the world to link digital transactions to the people who make them. Via APIs and a SaaS tool, Ekata leverages data science and machine learning to help businesses detect fake accounts, cross-verify consumer data, reduce payment risk, and fight transaction fraud. With more than 2,000 corporate partners ranging from global merchants and financial institutions to marketplaces and digital currency platforms, Ekata enables its businesses to gain unique and valuable insights that allow them to make better risk decisions about their customers.

“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,” Ekata CEO Rob Eleveld said. “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.”

Founded in 2019, Ekata unveiled its merchant onboarding solution earlier this month. Designed to meet the needs of PSPs, B2B lenders, and marketplaces working with smaller, micro-merchants and sole proprietors, Ekata’s new platform automates the onboarding process via API and provides for more efficient manual review with a SaaS solution.

“Merchants today have plenty of options and will quickly turn to another payment service provider if an organization adds too much friction at onboarding or takes too long on approvals,” Ekata VP of Global Marketing Beth Shulkin said in a statement. “This is much more than a customer experience issue for PSPs and lenders; losing the lifetime value of a merchant has real bottom-line impact.”

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