First Data Expected to Begin Tokenizing Mastercard-Branded Cards Next Year; Visa More Restrictive

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  Big U.S. acquirer and processor First Data plans to generate its own tokens for Mastercard-branded card accounts next year, NFC Times has learned, and a source says First Data is also in discussions with Visa to do the same, but Visa may not allow the processor to tokenize Visa-branded cards in place of the network’s own Visa Token Service.

First Data would follow the association of 25 major banks in the U.S., The Clearing House, in tokenizing Mastercard-branded cards. And as NFC Times has reported, The Clearing House, led by JPMorgan Chase, has also been pushing hard to tokenize Visa-branded cards and is believed to be one of the few, if only, third-party token service providers to have been given certification specifications from Visa to tokenize Visa cards. The Clearing House wants to provide tokens for its member banks for cards in mobile wallets and for its real-time payments system, which it launched today.

Tokenization is considered a key control point for the major networks as they anticipate more transactions moving to digital payments. And the two largest U.S.-based networks, Visa and Mastercard, have so far been tokenizing all card accounts carrying their brands for mobile wallets, including for Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

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