Visa brings Tokenization to Europe; Paves the Way for Apple Pay

Visa Europe has announced its plan to launch a network tokenization service customized for the needs of the European market. Tokenization is one of the key technologies that drives Apple Pay. Earlier, we had reported that Apple Pay was preparing to enter the European market, with the U.K. being the first targeted nation.

The tokenization service protects customer data, substituting the payment account information found on a plastic card with a series of numbers that can be used to authorize payment without exposing the actual account details. The network-level tokenization is currently part of the EMV payment specification. Apple Pay was the first mobile payment system to embrace tokenization, and has been a catalyst for the increased attention the process has been receiving in the payments field.

Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director of Core Products for Visa Europe commented, This is an exciting time to be in the payment industry. We believe that 2015 will be the year that mobile payments will be in the hands of consumers across Europe. Tokenization is one of the most important technologies to emerge in digital payments and has the potential to start a whole new chapter in the kinds of products that are developed. For that reason, we’ve designed this flexible and scalable service enabling issuers, merchants, and acquirers to provide consumers with the next generation of innovative payment methods – all with the high level of security they expect.

The launch of the service in Europe showcases Visa’s continuing fight against fraud, allowing financial institutions to control the environments where the token can be used – for example, a token set up only for contactless payments cannot be used to make an online purchase. When consumers use their mobile device to make a contactless payment in a store, a token is submitted, rather than their account details. Additionally, if a mobile device is lost or stolen, a token can be easily and promptly disabled.