Visa (NYSE:V), MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) today introduced 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 an August 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly six percent of all retail sales today are conducted digitally, up nearly 200 percent since the first quarter of 2004. As the number of digital transactions has increased, so has consumer demand for increased protection of their payment information. A host of industry activities, led by issuing and acquiring financial institutions, have already been introduced to help streamline and further secure payments in digital channels.
Aligned with these initiatives, the proposed standard would meet this consumer demand and 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.
To ensure consistency across the globe, the proposed standard used to generate tokens would be based on existing industry standards and would be available to all payment networks and other payment participants. 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
“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.”