Visa has taken advantage of the hoopla surrounding Apple's application of digital account tokens to replace card numbers for online and mobile purchasing by initiating the roll out of its Token Service to US clients.
Visa Token Service replaces sensitive payment account information found on plastic cards with a digital account number or 'token'. Because tokens do not carry a consumer's payment account details, such as the 16-digit account number, they can be safely stored by online merchants or on mobile devices to for e-commerce and mobile payments.
The release of the service has been given added urgency by a spate of successful hacks on merchant card data stores, such as the recent plundering of card account data at Home Depot and Target.
Visa Tokens will be made available to issuing financial institutions globally, starting with US banks next month, and followed by a phased roll-out overseas beginning in 2015. The technology has been designed to support payments with mobile devices using all major mobile platforms.
Ryan McInerney, president, Visa Inc. says: "More than 750 staff from across the Visa organisation globally were involved in the effort, working closely with our initial launch partners - financial institutions, merchants and processors - to ensure the ecosystem was ready. Today, we are making these services available to our clients, and believe it will help transform connected devices and wearables into secure payment vehicles."
MasterCard has its own equivalent Digital Enablement Service, which will be released outside of the US in 2015.