Card Networks Propose Global Tokenization Standard

March 13, 2014

Card Networks Propose Global Tokenization Standard Last fall, three of the four major American card networks made news when they proposed a partnership to formulate a tokenization standard to protect consumer payment information during digital transactions. Many processors have substituted “tokens” for actual consumer card account numbers during transactions for some time so that fewer parties have to store payment account details. But, the networks said, a standard for the technology would enable interoperability.

On Tuesday, EMVco, the company formed by six major global card networks (the big three above plus Discover, JCB and UnionPay) to standardize EMV technology around the world released proposed technical specifications for a tokenization standard. EMVco said the new specification will provide a “consistent, secure and globally interoperable environment to make digital payments when using a mobile handset, tablet, personal computer or other smart device.” A standard, they said, will make protecting digital transactions more efficient.

There are a variety of tokenization systems in existence already,” noted Christina Hulka, chair of EMVCo’s board of managers. “Within EMVCo’s role to facilitate global interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions, our specification work will aim to provide a globally aligned technical framework for payment tokens.”