Merchant Risk Council and Mercator Advisory Group Partner on Universal Authentication Study

Collaboration to result in industry standard with vendor-neutral look at online fraud

Seattle, WA and Boston, MA -- The Merchant Risk Council (MRC) and Mercator Advisory Group today announce a research partnership to explore the evolution of universal authentication in e-commerce and card-not-present transactions. This partnership will result in the development of a major research initiative that assists all participants in the global e-commerce value chain by educating the industry at-large on the emerging digital identity ecosystem and its relationship to existing fraud management approaches, business relationships and potential government regulation.

Among the results of the joint research initiative will be the production and distribution of a comprehensive whitepaper that will serve as an industry standard for future conversations on the development of e-commerce authentication. This pivotal document is expected to be released by the end of October.

"Mercator is very excited to be partnered with the MRC to undertake this initiative. The online identity challenge has plagued cyberspace since well before the Internet was broadly deployed. User IDs, passwords, payment card numbers and other personally-identifiable information is too easy to steal or compromise," said Ian Rubin, managing director of Mercator Advisory Group's Custom Research and Consulting Service. "Multiple attempts to solve the online identity challenge have failed due to factors including vendor dominance, technological obsolescence, political challenges, and scope creep."

George Peabody, director of Mercator Advisory Group's Emerging Technologies Service and lead study analyst, added "With e-commerce merchants as the primary stakeholders, authentication and identity are key concerns. Our study addresses high potential technologies and suggests how they may be implemented for e-commerce applications. A key element of this research reviews current authentication and identity initiatives underway against the early stage evolution of an evolving identity ecosystem. To make the study results "actionable", our efforts identify the new requirements: What do e-commerce merchants actually need?  How do current initiatives meet these requirements?"

The Executive Director of the MRC, Tom Donlea, added, "The MRC is very happy to engage with Mercator on this effort. The MRC seeks to educate its members and the industry at-large on key topics impacting all of us. The future role of authentication is at the top of the list of important issues. Mercator brings the expertise to deliver what we know will be a meaningful, impactful research effort to improve the electronic commerce industry."

The research effort, which began earlier this year, has been underwritten by several leading companies in the e-commerce and authentication industries that recognize the importance this topic has to all participants and the need to evolve a stronger e-commerce ecosystem. Among the sponsors stepping forward to proactively shape these conversations and research initiatives are Accertify, Kount, Transaction Network Services, LexisNexis, MagTek, and Voltage Security.

About the Merchant Risk Council

The Merchant Risk Council was formed in 2000, with the primary focus was to educate online merchants on how to prevent fraud.  In 2008, the MRC expanded its mission to include global online payments and risk management issues.  The MRC Institute is a think tank aimed at developing program and educational materials for all constituent stakeholders in the eCommerce payments ecosystem.  The ultimate goal is to improve consumer confidence in eCommerce and driver greater safety and profitability for online retailers.

About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors.