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Mastercard is researching how to use quantum computing to improve its loyalty and rewards programs.  

Although quantum computing is still in its infancy, financial institutions can benefit from considering future use cases, setting up experiments, and skills-building. For Mastercard, that means seeing how quantum could help personalize rewards programs. 

Mastercard has partnered with D-Wave to research how quantum computing could supercharge its loyalty and rewards programs.  

Quantum – an emerging computing paradigm that promises to perform calculations at blistering speeds – is well suited to the challenge of sorting through the gobs of customer data that financial firms use to offer incentives to their customers. That’s why Mastercard has begun experimenting with how it could use quantum computing to help issuing banks and merchants better customize their loyalty programs. 

“Some of these retailers have customer bases in the hundreds of thousands, with hundreds of rewards programs,” Mastercard’s vice president of AI and machine learning, Steve Flinter, told American Banker. “So, how do you give which reward to which customer, and at what time? It’s really a hard problem to solve, even with the best technology that we have today.”   

Using data on payments, sales, redemption, demographics, and hundreds of other sources related to how consumers engage with incentives, Mastercard could help its clients shape their loyalty programs.  

Beyond its work with rewards, Mastercard also recently announced that it plans to issue “quantum-resistant” contactless credit cards that can maintain their encryption even when up against quantum computers.  

“Quantum computing is an emerging technology that can be revolutionary for our industry,” Flinter said. 

To that end, HSBC, JPMorgan, and Ally are also experimenting with ways to use quantum computing technology for their benefit, like improving the speed and precision of risk analysis. Meanwhile, Banque de France is preparing to protect itself against encryption-breaking quantum tactics and Credit Agricole just successfully completed two real-world experiments that found it could achieve “faster valuations and more accurate risk assessments” using quantum techniques.