Intel, Mastercard Plan Card-Touch Payments

Shopping online is about to get a lot easier.

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New technology is being introduced into Intel’s Ultrabooks that will allow consumers to pay for items online by simply touching their credit card or mobile device with near field technology (NFC) to the computer console.

Intel and Mastercard have partnered to make the transactions possible.

Intel’s Ultrabooks, which were introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, have new security technology that makes online payments more secure than other PC's on the market.

“The idea is to make sure that the online transaction from the Intel platform, which is the Ultrabook, is safe, secure and it gives them peace of mind that their identity is safe,” said George Thangadurai, general manager of PC client services at Intel. “Security should not be more cumbersome or hard to use, it should not effect the user experience. The user should just go and focus on the buying experience.”

Intel will also be making contactless payments available on smartphones and tablets possible, Thangadurai said.

The technology will become available on Intel’s Ultrabooks by the second-quarter of 2012, said Thangadurai. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean consumers will begin to be using it right away.

Mastercard is currently working with merchants in making this technology accessible to online shoppers, said Gordon Dolfie, director of marketing for Intel. No launch date has been announced.

“This is something that is taking place at the moment," said Mung Ki Woo, Mastercard’s group executive of mobile emerging payments. "Unfortunately, I can’t say much more than that. But yes, this new generation of services is going to require the collaboration of all the payment ecosystem. So of course we have companies like Intel, banks and merchants."

Currently, there are 32 million merchants worldwide that accept Mastercard, so the credit card company may have a leg up when it comes to getting its customers to implement this technology, but they’re still reluctant to say when retailers will be able to accept the new payment method.

“It’s coming very soon,” said Woo.