American Express, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards are displayed for a photograph in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Mastercard Sees Other Banks Ditching Credit Card Numbers Like Apple Did

(Bloomberg) -- First it was the signatures. Now the biggest U.S. banks could be looking to get rid of card numbers, too.

This week, Apple Inc. introduced the Mastercard Inc.-branded Apple Card, which won’t have a number on the physical card as a way to improve security in case a customer loses it. That could encourage other banks to also ditch the static number in favor of more secure limited-use numbers, said Craig Vosburg, president of North America for Mastercard.

“We want security to be at the highest level possible across the ecosystem, and we want to do that in ways that don’t introduce friction and make payments inconvenient for consumers,” Vosburg said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg Television.

Mastercard and other U.S. payments networks have opted to ditch signatures because they became less necessary as a security measure after the U.S. implemented chip technology in cards. Some large U.S. banks, including Capital One Financial Corp., have already begun to test virtual card numbers that are assigned to specific merchants.

Apple and partner Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are entering the competitive field of consumer credit, where banks have been shelling out costly rewards to encourage consumers to spend through their cards. The Apple Card is tied to Apple Pay, a service that lets people load banking information and pay in-store or use it for purchases online. It works globally where Apple Pay is accepted, lets users track spending in Apple’s Wallet app and focuses on transaction privacy.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.