Visa brings token service to Singapore with UOB partnership

Singapore is the first country in Asia Pacific to see the launch of the Visa Token Service that will replace sensitive payment account information with a unique digital code.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Visa together with the United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched the Visa Token Service in Singapore, the first country in Asia Pacific, as part of moves to enhance security around mobility and digital payments.

According to Visa, the Visa Token Service is a security technology that replaces sensitive payment account information, such as the 16-digit account number, expiration date, and security code with a unique digital "token" that can be used to process payments without exposing any account details.

For security purposes, Visa said all tokenised cards are linked to a customer's mobile or an application that is validated via VisaNet in real-time.

Under the deal, United Overseas Bank has implemented the Visa Token Service as part of its mobile app, UOB Mighty. The service allows its UOB Visa credit or debit cardholders to make contactless payments with an NFC-enabled Android smartphone by launching the UOB Mighty app, selecting the "pay" function, entering a PIN, and tapping to pay at all NFC-enabled terminals in Singapore and overseas.

TS Anil, Visa APAC head of product, said the Token Service can help prevent fraud, and enable users to pay with their mobiles and online without the need to share sensitive information.

"We live in a connected world and with the rise of digitisation, it is important the payments industry is focused on delivering a safe, secure, simple, and consistent consumer purchasing experience," he said.

Visa introduced tokenisation in October 2013. Meanwhile, the company first introduced its Visa Token Service last September as a feature of Apple Pay during the launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch.

Visa's plan to extend its token service offering was noted earlier this year when the company's CEO Charlie Scharf said 2015 was a year when the company would offer secure payments across a wide variety of devices, platforms, and apps.

"In order to enable these innovative new ways to pay, we are deploying smart technologies that help to prevent fraud, while also maintaining consumer and merchant trust in digital commerce," he said at the time in a statement.

The latest research from the Commonwealth Bank has indicated the ongoing reliance Australians have on cashless payment methods. For example, one in four plan to use cashless methods for up to 100 percent of their Christmas transactions. At the same time, 72 percent agree cashless transactions allow for a faster, more convenient shopping experience.

The research also showed that 24 percent would prefer to pay using their mobile phone so they don't have to carry a physical wallet.

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