Seeking security, American Express aims to swap card numbers with tokens

The company's token service allows merchants and mobile payment providers to stop working with sensitive payment card numbers

In an effort to make to make Internet and mobile transactions more secure, American Express has launched a new service that aims to replace payment card numbers with unique tokens.

E-commerce sites and digital wallet applications that use the company's new token service won't have to store customers' card details. Instead merchants, banks and payment processors will be able to work with digital tokens that are mapped to real payment card accounts.

The payment tokens can be tied to specific merchants, transaction types or payment devices, limiting the ability of cybercriminals to misuse them if compromised. This means that widespread adoption of tokenization for card-not-present transactions would likely reduce fraud.

Unlike payment card numbers, if tokens are compromised, they can easily be revoked and replaced without the need to physically reissue the cards they link back to.

The American Express Token Service is based on the Payment Tokenization Specification and Technical Framework published this year by EMVCo, the organization that maintains the EMV standard for chip-enabled payment cards. It is already available in the U.S. and American Express plans to start rolling it out internationally in 2015.

The service's release comes at a time of growing mobile payments adoption, partially driven by the launch of Apple Pay, which also uses tokenization. Major U.S. and international banks are also planning to launch their own mobile payments apps next year.

Those apps will likely use a technology called Host Card Emulation (HCE) that is present in NFC-enabled mobile devices running Android 4.4 "KitKat." American Express has also developed network specifications for HCE to enable its card-issuing partners to use the technology.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityfrauddata protectionamerican expressIdentity fraud / theft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?