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News: Visa Increases Online and Mobile Security  -

Visa will no longer use 16-digit account numbers when processing online and mobile payments, the company announced recently.

In an attempt to tighten payment security and protect consumers from cyber fraud, Visa Token Service (VTS) will replace account numbers with a unique seriesof numbers that will authorize payments without making account details visible. The sensitive information on credit cards includes not only the 16-digit account number, but the expiration date and security code as well. All of this information is shielded from potential thieves when VTS is used to make a payment.

VTS was launched last October when select customers had access to the service through Apple Pay. Since then, over 500 financial institutions have taken steps to implement the service. Throughout 2015 VTS will be expanded to more merchants, apps, financial companies and mobile device makers. Consumers will be able to use VTS to make secure mobile payments on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

This step has been in the works for some time; Visa first advocated the use of digital tokens in 2013.

Many merchants to have access with Visa Checkout

Retailers who already use Visa Checkout, Visa’s online payment service, will be on the fast track to safer payments. The company plans to make all Visa Checkout transactions compatible with VTS in the near future. Businesses including Gap, Neiman Marcus, Orbitz, Pizza Hut, Staples, and over 100 more are currently using Visa Checkout for online purchases.

With Visa Checkout, customers can save their payment information for fast, secure online purchases.

EMV adds extra layer of security

The increase of chip or EMV card technology also helps keep customer payment information safe. EMV cards are equipped with encoded chips that are more secure than magnetic stripes. Chip cards work with PIN codes or signatures, and can be tapped or waved over EMV-compatible point-of-sales terminals rather than being swiped. Visa has been on the forefront of payment security technology: EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies that jointly created the standard for secure payments.

While EMV card technology is now standard across Europe, Asia, Canada and other parts of the world, it has been slow to catch on in the United States. As more and more EMV cards are being introduced to the market, Visa is spearheading efforts to educate consumers about how to use them, as well as increasing awareness of their increased security features.