Token generates random numbers that aren’t related to your actual credit card number, and uses those numbers to make payments. It’s the technology powering Apple Pay service, and is designed to keep your credit card details safe on your phone, never to be transmitted – retailers never actually get to see your real credit card number, so in the case of a security breach you won’t need to get your card reissued by your bank. In many ways, it seems that Token is the way online payments should be made.
The official Visa Token site specifically calls out making mobile payments with Apple Pay and Android devices, and indicates that a full set of APIs and an SDK is on offer for financial institutions, merchants and “value-added partners”. It doesn’t seem you’ll see a Visa Token app per se, but rather a mobile payments app from your own financial institution that supports it – you might not even know it.
What remains to be seen is the speed with which Visa will deploy Token worldwide (the service is US-only for now), and what the uptake from local partners will be. We’ve already seen Cuscal start to roll out Redi2Pay, an NFC-HCE solution for its partner institutions. Cuscal told us earlier in the year that it was working with Visa in developing the mobile payments solution, so it’s possible that Redi2Pay will be Token-ready when Visa’s ready to go global with its service.
We’ve been writing about them for a while – are you in the market for a mobile payment solution. Could a service using Visa Token be it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.