Visa, MasterCard and American Express have announced a proposed framework for a new global standard to enhance the security of digital payments and simplify the purchasing experience when shopping on a mobile phone, tablet, personal computer or other smart device.
According to the companies, "the proposed standard would allow the traditional account number to be replaced with a digital payment “token” for online and mobile transactions. With a token, consumers will no longer be required to enter an actual account number when shopping online or on a smart device. Tokens provide an additional layer of security and eliminate the need for merchants, digital wallet operators or others to store account numbers."
“For more than five decades, the payments industry has relied on standards to safely and consistently process payments,” said Jim McCarthy, Global Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Visa Inc. “As more consumers make purchases with mobile phones, tablets and PCs, we are committed to showing industry leadership in the development of new standards that offer the same interoperability, reliability and security as traditional card payments.”
“This continued transition from plastic cards to digital is all about providing consumers with the ability to easily and safely make a purchase. They would no longer need to store their actual card account number when shopping online or with a smart device; the token would serve as that stand-in,” said Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer, MasterCard. “This proposed global standard builds on our track record of working across the industry to deliver safe and secure payment products. What we're introducing today is comparable to how the industry came together to develop and use the magnetic stripe, EMV and NFC on a global scale.”
“By working together to form a common global standard for online and mobile shopping, we will be able to provide enhanced security, interoperability and consistency for all participants within the digital payments ecosystem,” said Mike Matan, Head of Global Network Business, American Express. “In addition, we will be able to drive the rapid adoption and expansion of digital payments, delivering innovative new products and services that will allow consumers to realize the full potential of digital commerce in today’s world.”
Key elements of the proposed standard include:
- New data fields to provide richer information about the transaction, which can help improve fraud detection and expedite the approval process
- Consistent methods to identify and verify a consumer before replacing the traditional card account number with a token
- A common standard designed to simplify the process for merchants for contactless, online or other transactions
Once a standard is agreed to and implemented, issuers, merchants or digital wallet providers would be able to request a token so that when an account holder initiates an online or mobile transaction, the token – and not the traditional card account number – would be used to process, authorize, clear and settle the transaction in the same way traditional card payments are processed today. Tokens can be restricted in how they are used with a specific merchant, device, transaction or category of transactions.
The three companies say that the proposed framework has incorporated the input of many stakeholders, particularly card issuers and merchants. Over the coming weeks, the framework will also be presented to other partners and independent industry bodies, such as The Clearing House, PCI Security Standards Council and EMVCo, to align and further advance the standard.
We're reminded that The Clearing House announced a similar dynamic credentialing initiative earlier this year.