EMVCo - which is collectively owned by American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa - has announced that it is expanding its scope to lead the payments industry's work to standardize payment tokenization. EMVCo says that "the new specification will help provide the payments community with a consistent, secure and interoperable environment to make digital payments when using a mobile handset, tablet, personal computer or other smart device."
Tokenization is the process of replacing a traditional card account number with a unique payment token that is restricted in how it can be used with a specific device, merchant, transaction type or channel. When using tokenization, merchants and digital wallet operators do not need to store card account numbers; instead they are able to store payment tokens that can only be used for their designated purpose. The tokenization process happens in the background in a manner that is expected to be invisible to the consumer.
Key elements of EMVCo’s work include adding new data fields to provide richer industry information about the transaction, which will improve transaction efficiency and enhance the consumer and merchant payment experience by helping to prevent fraudulent card account use. EMVCo will also create a consistent approach to identify and verify the valid use of a token during payment processing including authorization, capture, clearing and settlement.
EMVCo’s announcement follows an earlier joint announcement from MasterCard, Visa and American Express that proposed an initial framework for industry collaboration to standardize payment tokenization. EMVCo says it will now build on this framework with collective input from all of its members and the industry as a whole.