Tokenization has the potential to limit the cost of security breaches for retailers. Apple Pay may have blown open the floodgates for tokenization. American Express is pushing for broader adoption.
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.