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Visa Token Service hits 4 billion – surpasses Visa cards issued

Visa says it has issued over 4 billion network tokens worldwide through its security technology Visa Token Service (VTS), outpacing the total number of its physical cards in circulation.

Visa Token Service replaces 16-digit Visa account numbers with a token that only Visa can unlock, protecting the underlying account information.

“Without exposing the consumer’s account to fraud, tokenization enables frictionless, card-free payments,” comments Jack Forestell, executive vice president and chief product officer at Visa.

The popularity of the service, driven by its promise of safer online transactions, corresponds with the surge in online spending since the global outbreak of COVID-19.

E-commerce volume has grown by more than 50% since the onset of the pandemic, the world’s largest payments processor said in a statement citing data from the US Department of Commerce.

Since launching VTS in 2014, Visa said it had issued 1 billion tokens by 2020, after which growth accelerated to 2 billion in 2021 before doubling this year.

The demand is not likely to ebb, with most consumers retaining the lockdown habit of swiping cards online and helped by ongoing investments from companies in making shopping on digital platforms more secure and user friendly.

“E-commerce is now happening everywhere. Online happens in-store as merchants look to provide more options for consumers. In-store, your phone can also be your Visa card,” adds Forestell.

VTS, compatible with popular apps such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, runs as a payments security platform offering different solutions for retail consumers as well as institutions like banks and clearing houses.


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