The rationale for tokenisation and PCI DSS compliance

Diego Katzman

Diego Katzman
Published 09/08/2021 · 3 min read

What does one have to do with the other?

Well, a lot more than you think. There are endless technical alternatives to protect confidential information stored, transferred, or processed in corporate environments. The ultimate goal is to protect the original sensitive information so that it cannot be exposed and read by unauthorised persons. One such technique for protecting sensitive data is tokenisation, although there are many others, such as symmetric and asymmetric encryption and transposition. It all depends on the specific needs of the business.

In this post, we will focus on tokenisation, as it is the most demanded mechanism for the protection of credit and debit card data. Under the Payment Card Insdustry Standars (PCI DSS) tokenisation is widely adopted as one of the data security compliance fundamentals, where particular emphasis is placed on the protection of card data.

What is tokenisation? How can we minimise the risk of data storage? Is the token considered confidential data?

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Tokenisation: from concept to technique

When applied to data security, tokenisation is the process of substituting a sensitive data element (your card details) with a non-sensitive equivalent, referred to as a token, that has no extrinsic or exploitable meaning or value.

The token is used instead of the original card data so that the original card data cannot be viewed.

This reduces the risk of someone’s original card transactions being compromised, even when the transaction details are stored on company systems for reconciliation and reporting purposes.  In addition, the token is not itself confidential data, but the data or value replaces is.

In short, the sensitive data on a bank card is replaced by a unique code called a token, used during the digital transaction. In this way, the need to display and expose the credit or debit card holder's actual card number (PAN) is eliminated.

In the case of payment methods, tokenisation was driven by the growth of new business models resulting from the emergence of the digital economy. It quickly became necessary to implement mechanisms to protect consumer data that could be exposed during the purchase process. Tokenisation has been developed with security in mind.

Ready to increase the security of your business and improve the user experience for your customers? 

Features of payment tokenisation

Now that you know what this eCommerce data protection service is all about, we want to take a closer look at the concept.

Take note of the following tokenisation features!

  • It protects the primary account number (PAN) with an algorithmic encryption system where a unique numeric code is issued to replace the PAN during the transaction.
  • If a user purchases your business through tokenised payment, the data they send to the card network is a token rather than the actual card information.
  • The way this system works is summarised in 3 steps:
    1. Provisioning, where the customer already has a token.
    2. Validation, where the token is sent to the card network to process the transaction.
    3. Authorisation, where the network tokenises the PAN and sends the authorisation to the merchant.

Best of all, this process is completed in a few seconds. As a result, businesses and consumers benefit from this security technique. On one hand, the eCommerce stores the tokenised card data of its consumers and complies with the PCI DSS. On the other hand, customers shop safely. 

What does the PCI DSS certificate say about tokenisation?

PCI DSS confirms that compliance is mandatory for all companies that accept, process, or transfer card information.

In short, if your eCommerce accepts card payments, you must have PCI certification and support for the tokenised cards. Don't worry! PayXpert can help you obtain the PCI DSS certification that you need. 

In total, PCI DSS sets out 12 key security compliance requirements, such as "information security policy, assessment of corporate anti-virus and malware solutions, protection of card data through encryption, and maintenance of secure networks and systems," among many others.

Today, we will focus on card protection through encryption, as this is the requirement directly related to tokenisation. Earlier, we said that we need to increase customer security, and the data you store is best protected by tokenisation, especially if you decide to hire a service provider—for example, an integrated payment gateway.

If you are undecided, tokenisation could help you out, as it is one of the best security protocols currently available. 

How to tokenise cards with PayXpert?

Ease, trust, and protection. This is how we could define the tokenisation service offered by PayXpert to eCommerce—converting your customers' card data into encrypted tokens in a single click. We offer a complete service!

Not only do you ensure your customers get the experience they want through a quality payment gateway, but you get access to a flexible set of customisation options in your store, making international shoppers feel right at home.

Merchants can choose from a variety of PayXpert eCommerce payment page integrations that will help them comply with the PCI DSS regulations for protecting card data. For example, our “hosted and seamless checkout” payment page options help place the requirement on protecting card data on PayXpert systems rather than the merchant's systems.

In short, PayXpert is the comprehensive solution that many businesses demand to:

  • Ensure the security of card payments and PCI DSS compliance with tokenisation.
  • Pay anywhere, in the language and currency of the audience, even if they are blind or disabled.
  • Use the latest technology and innovation to enhance the in-store user experience.
  • Allow customers to pay how they want to pay now and in the future.
  • Analyse customer behaviour, reduce the level of fraud and make better decisions based on actual data.
  • Improve business operations, as well as conversions, using our industry-specific features.

Do you need us? We are here to help.

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