Visa Bins The Account Number For Mobile & Online Payments

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Expansion of tokenisation technology will help to ensure security of Visa user accounts

Online and mobile payments are set to become significantly safer thanks to the expansion of advanced security technology from payments leader Visa.

The company has announced that from this year, it will be rolling out its Visa Token Service (VTS) to a much wider audience to ensure its customer information remains secure.

VTS replaces the traditional information such as the 16-digit account number, expiry date and security code, typically entered to make a payment, with a unique ‘token’ series of numbers.

This means that customer information will no longer need to be kept by the retailer, following a number of major cyberattacks against large businesses in recent years.

Visa CodeSure Payment card credit“Maintaining trust”

Visa says that more than 500 financial institutions have started to implement VTS so far, and will be looking to expand the reach to more merchants and mobile device manufacturers throughout 2015.

The system is already used to authorise payments made through Apple’s Apple Pay system, which launched last September.

“In 2015, Visa will offer secure payments across a wide variety of devices, platforms and apps,” said Charlie Scharf, chief executive officer, Visa Inc. “In order to enable these innovative new ways to pay, we are deploying smart technologies that help to prevent fraud, while also maintaining consumer and merchant trust in digital commerce.”

As mobile and online become increasingly popular methods to make payments, the security involved is coming under more and more scrutiny.

However several leading providers have reassured the public that they have little to worry about. Payments provider Zapp told TechWeekEurope last week that shopping on a mobile device was significantly safer than shopping online using a traditional PC, a viewpoint echoed by security firm Kaspersky Labs.

“Removing card account numbers from the processing and storage of payments represents one of the most innovative and promising technologies we’ve seen in decades,” said Scharf. “This, combined with chip card technology, advances in account holder authentication through analytics and biometrics, and more sophisticated risk monitoring, will allow Visa account holders to enjoy new, secure payment experiences.”

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