Card companies hope to improve online security with digital tokens

Visa, MasterCard and American Express want to make online shopping safer for consumers.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are calling on other industry figures to join them in their support of a new framework for the global token standard, which they believe will make life simpler and safer for customers shopping online.

The framework would see issuers, merchants and digital wallet providers able to ask for a token, so that when a customer goes to make an online or mobile transaction, the token would be used in place of a traditional card account number to process, authorise, clear and settle payment. The standard used to generate the tokens would be based on existing industry standards and would be available across all networks and wider market participants.

Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard, says: “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.”

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