MasterCard and telcommunications technology provider Syniverse are testing a service designed to protect card transactions for travelers by allowing payments only when a user's mobile device is switched on in a specific location.

The service is meant to reduce fraudulent card use as well as any customer service issues that arise when a traveler uses a payment card abroad. Consumers will also have a choice of prepaid data packages that they can buy directly from their phone when they arrive in a foreign country.

Financial institutions that issue cards can also access a tool that will add geographic context to a purchase to aid in the decision to approve or decline a transaction.

"By leveraging the speed and intelligence of our global network and combining it with geolocation solutions, we are enabling your MasterCard to work where you and your phone are," says Hany Fam, president of global strategic alliances at MasterCard, in a Feb. 25 press release.

MasterCard and Syniverse also plan to provide targeted offers in the future, the companies say in the release.

Other companies, such as Toopher and miiCard, also use geolocation for security. Toopher uses a phone's location for authentication, while miiCard uses photo identity to confirm the user. 

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