Mastercard Puts Investment in HYPR Corp. Biometrics Operations

December 11, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Biometrics are still one of the biggest new names in security; the notion of being able to lock and unlock an account with a fingerprint or an iris scan is appealing, since it’s easy to use, impossible to forget, and very difficult to hack outside of some really outlandish moves like 3D-printed masks or lifting fingerprints from glassware. Recently, Mastercard threw some extra investment into biometrics operations itself by placing HYPR Corp. in its Mastercard Start Path class.

The Mastercard Start Path classes are part of a larger worldwide operation that gives startups access to material and other support to help them scale upward. HYPR had already landed an $8 million Series A round just back in October, but with Mastercard’s involvement, an additional $2 million had been raised along with it. That second funding round, reports note, had been led by Mastercard itself, and brought the total capital for HYPR to $13 million.

HYPR’s offering is sufficiently potent to make such investment worthwhile. HYPR offers systems that allow customers to store data on their own devices, and then lets the customer authenticate access to said data. The authentication takes place by a variety of means, allowing the customer to choose between passwords or PINs, biometric systems, or even some other methods.

It lowers the risk of a data breach by effectively decentralizing security operations, keeping the consumer’s credentials on the consumer’s device. HYPR’s first target is going to be mobile payments—which isn’t particularly surprising giving the growing prominence of such operations—but from there, it will branch out into mobile and online banking, merchant services, and a slate of new Internet of Things (IoT) operations which will require hefty security themselves.

We’re talking about a system that should, based on the latest reports, effectively make hacking a much more complex task by decentralizing credential storage. While credentials might be easier to get as they’ll be stored on consumer-grade devices instead of in major mainframes, the return on investment will likely be slashed as it will be much tougher for hackers to get large quantities of user data.

If HYPR catches on on a wide scale, then we could have an environment with a lot fewer data breaches. The rewards for such breaches just wouldn’t be there any more.