Visa brings tokenisation to Europe; preps P2P/social media payments service

Visa brings tokenisation to Europe; preps P2P/social media payments service

Visa Europe is to launch a tokenisation service customised for the European marketplace in mid-April in a move which would pave the way for the roll out of Apple Pay across the continent.

Tokenisation replaces the traditional 16-digit Visa account number with a unique series of numbers, helping to prevent exposure of sensitive consumer account information in online and mobile payments.

The service was at the heart of the launch of Apple Pay in the US last year, and is seen as a key element in the ongoing fight against fraud.

To date, more than 500 financial institutions have started to implement VTS in the US market, where the arrival of Apple Pay has jolted the hitherto moribund mobile payments market into life.

Visa has also announced plans to create a global peer-to-peer payment service, enabling fast cash transfers between card holders via the use of just a mobile phone number or Visa card number.

The new Visa Direct service replaces an existing P2P protocol, Visa Personal Payments, which has 200,000 users across Europe and has transferred up to EUR43 million since its launch in March 2013.

The card scheme has introduced an API to make it easy for banks to integrate the service, which is set for launch in the summer, into their existing payments platforms.

Visa Direct will also be hooked up to popular social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, through a partnership between Visa and Singapore-based fastacash. Through this arrrangement, cardholders will be able to use Visa Direct to send cash to other Visa users through their social media profiles.

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