Amex Launches Tokenization, HCE Solutions

Nov. 6, 2014

Amex Launches Tokenization, HCE Solutions This week, American Express launched a tokenization service so its cards can be used more securely for online, mobile and in-app payments. The company said its solution is based on the specification framework released earlier this year by EMVco, the consortium of global card networks that manages the EMV specifications. Rollout of the service, which will replace American Express card numbers used in card-not-present transactions with tokens so merchants and digital wallet providers will not have to store consumers’ PII, will begin in “early 2015.”

At the same time, the company developed specifications for its network around Host Card Emulation (HCE). HCE enables mobile payments at the POS using NFC-enabled Android devices that do not require a secure element in the handset. Payment details are stored in the cloud and accessed via a software workaround developed for Android’s most recent operating-system version, nicknamed KitKat. While some experts are not sold on the security of HCE, the popular workaround has enabled mobile payment solutions to leverage NFC contactless payments without access to a device’s secure element.