Visa Tokenisation: Higher authorisation rates and more security for merchants

Security of sensitive data has always led to innovation, be it in early civilisations such as Greeks creating a cryptic messaging system to share secret war information to the new-age uses of cryptography. Nowadays, tokenisation is one of the most used security technologies for payments and Visa tokenisation is the latest upgrade to further enhance the security of payment transactions online and on mobile.

But first things first.

What is Visa Tokenisation?

The Visa Token Service offers an extra layer of security by replacing sensitive cardholder information, such as personal account numbers (PAN), with a unique digital identifier (a “token”) that can be used for payment in online and mobile transactions without exposing a cardholder’s more sensitive account information. A new version to enhance digital transaction security has been announced by EMVCo (global standards organisation for digital payments) and Card Schemes such as Visa are working with payment service providers across the world to update their systems to support the updated version of Tokenisation.

How a token is generated

What does it mean for businesses?

You don’t need research to tell you that the security of payment details of your customers is crucial, and any breach of this data would mean loss of your reputation and your customer base. Your payments partner is responsible for keeping this data secure and to comply with the regulations and compliance standards to keep up with the new technology in payments.

Visa Tokenisation comes in the picture for recurring transactions or for returning customers. This is the case when a customer uses one-click payment for faster checkout and the card details are pre-filled on the hosted payment page such as SafeCharge Checkout. This is called card-on-file or COF transactions. Visa Tokenisation significantly reduces the risk associated with COF transactions. Merchants also get added security in case of data breaches that occur as the Visa card number is replaced with a token unique to the Token Requestor (SafeCharge) environment.

Seamless user account update

Keeping payment information up to date is complex, costly and time-consuming. It is an ongoing challenge for merchants to stay on top of account information changes. Card information updates can result from account closures, cards reported lost or stolen, expiration date changes, product upgrades, or any other reason. Outdated card-on-file information can lead to declined transactions and cardholder inconvenience—and ultimately introduce the risks of service cancellation and customer dissatisfaction.

With Visa Account Updater (VAU), the token is seamlessly updated with any account changes eliminating a significant point of friction for merchants and their customers.

Account Updater for syncing information updates

Benefits of Visa Tokenisation

  • Added security for cardholder data: Since the data is replaced by a token, there is no data to steal providing additional security to transaction data.
  • Improved authorisation rates: Visa Tokenisation also builds trust with issuing banks and card schemes leading to better authorisation rates.
  • Reduced fraud ratio: The tokens work only for a certain environment such as a specific payment processor or a specific device, considerably reducing the fraud rate.
  • No special integration needed: Businesses do not have to worry about any development work as they use SafeCharge integration to the Visa Token API.
  • Improved conversion: Features such as card art visible on the payment page and asynchronous account updates (Account Updater) improve payment conversions.
  • Compliance to global standards: Compliance to various regulations is a must which Visa Tokenisation help businesses to achieve.

SafeCharge has made Visa Tokenisation available to all its customers since February this year, letting them enjoy higher authorisation rates and better user experience for card on file transactions, without any change requested on their side.

Get in touch to know more about Visa Tokenisation or any of our other services.


SafeCharge Limited is an Electronic Money Institution authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus and is a principal member of Mastercard, Visa and Unionpay International (CUP). SafeCharge Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Payment Institution. Both SafeCharge companies are wholly owned by SafeCharge International Group Limited.