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A next-level payment solution: Exploring network tokenisation
Mon, 4th Dec 2023

The ubiquity of card-not-present (CNP) transactions has emerged as an undisputed reality. Yet, this evolution is not without its perils, as the ominous spectre of payment card fraud and data breaches looms large. Amid these challenges, network tokenisation provides a formidable solution, cutting through the uncertainty. This cutting-edge technology amplifies the robustness of digital commerce transactions, acting as a guardian of shared and stored data. It achieves this feat by substituting the sensitive Primary Account Numbers (PANs) with fortified identifiers, known as tokens.

In the dynamic world of network tokenisation, heavyweights of the card industry, such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, are the custodians issuing the tokens. In contrast, PCI tokenisation entrusts the task of token issuance to acquirers or payment service providers. This differentiation ensures that network tokens operate frictionlessly across the comprehensive payment system, offering a broader array of applications. 

This article provides a navigation aid for the intricate maze, which is network tokenisation. Initially designed for the CNP milieu, this innovative payment technology boasts extensive applicability. We will delve into its mechanics, the benefits it offers, its pivotal role in ensuring adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and its potential to redefine the entire global payments ecosystem.

Avoidance of penalties and minimisation of expenses
Network tokenisation substitutes delicate card data with secure tokens, maintaining crucial information without jeopardising security. This process allows businesses to track customer transactions and preferences without the need to access actual card details. By analysing tokens, companies can identify spending habits. For example, if a customer repeatedly uses a particular token (linked to a specific payment method), a business can infer that the customer favours that method. These insights equip companies with the ability to customise their marketing strategies. If a customer regularly purchases from a specific category, the company has the opportunity to send them customised advertisements or promotions pertaining to that category.

Streamlined periodic transactions and heightened success in payment approvals
Subscribers to services not utilising network tokenisation may encounter hurdles when their card is misplaced or reaches its expiration date. In such instances, customers find themselves in the inconvenient position of having to re-input their card details. Network tokenisation presents a sophisticated remedy by ensuring that cardholders aren't required to refresh their payment specifics when they obtain a new card. This procedure connects to a client's primary funding account instead of the tangible card, paving the way for smooth, trouble-free recurring payments. This amplified access to payment credentials streamlines the process, diminishes payment rejections, enhances approval rates, and guarantees uninterrupted transactions.

As businesses ponder over the incorporation of this advanced technology, the advantages of increased approval rates surpassing conventional PANs are noteworthy. Joint data with Visa, for instance, reveals an impressive uptick of up to 5% in approval rates (source: VisaNet Data Feb-Apr 2022 Issuer region: Europe; Visa Token transactions compared to PAN-based transactions online). Embracing network tokenisation doesn't just enhance security; it creates a smooth, efficient payment experience, resulting in happier, more satisfied customers.

Strengthening safety measures against bad actors
Network tokenisation delivers a potent shield against fraud, rendering intercepted tokens useless. These tokens, which bear no similarity to the original data and appear as random sequences to unauthorised entities, provide a formidable barrier against fraudulent activities. This advantage is especially crucial in the context of the rising volume of CNP transactions, which are more prone to fraud due to the lack of physical card verification.

Moreover, tokenisation assists in identifying unusual patterns that might indicate fraudulent behaviour. Irregular token usage or abnormal patterns act as warning signals. According to a report by Visa, network tokenisation has led to a reduction in fraud by up to 50% in Europe (source: VisaNet March 2022). This valuable information enables businesses to take preventive measures while maintaining customer privacy.

Customers now demand faster service, convenience, and value. Network tokenisation meets demands while also increasing customer loyalty in subscription-based models. It improves conversion and authorisation rates, reduces fraud, and saves costs. With its mix of security, efficiency, and competitive advantage, network tokenisation is an attractive option for merchants aiming to succeed in digital commerce.