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Tokenisation to better secure digital payments: Visa

Nurdianah Md Nur | Dec. 18, 2015
Tokenisation will help fight digital payment fraud, says Joe Cunningham of Visa.

joe cunningham visa
Joe Cunningham, Head of Risk Asia Pacific at Visa

The robust growth of e-commerce and m-commerce in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) coupled with consumers' demands for higher standards of payments security presents a challenge for the payments industry. However, Joe Cunningham, Head of Risk Asia Pacific at Visa, sees this as an opportunity to spearhead payments innovation in this region. In an exclusive interview with Bank IT Asia, he talks about the significance of tokenisation, which is Visa's innovation and answer to better secure online and mobile payments.

Cunningham is responsible for championing security in the industry and maintaining the integrity of the payments ecosystem. Reporting to Visa's Chief Enterprise Risk Officer, he is also responsible for strategic risk management for the business, credit settlement risk, brand protection, innovation risk and fraud and data security across Asia Pacific.

Bank IT Asia: What are your thoughts on the payments landscape in APAC today, and why tokenisation is now ripe for adoption? How will tokenisation positively impact e/m-commerce in APAC? 
Cunningham: The payments landscape is evolving rapidly and changing the way commerce is being carried out.  Not only is it providing new means for consumers, merchants and financial institutions to connect, but it's also serving as a tremendous growth platform for the payments ecosystem by creating a commercial environment where cash and cheques may virtually become non-existent. Cashless, digital payments are growing rapidly in APAC, requiring a stronger focus on data security to fight payment fraud. Payment security is a key concern for consumers who want to shop online or using their mobile devices. 

Visa has a simple vision - to be the best way to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere. We want Visa accounts to be used and accepted in the digital world as easily as in the physical world. If we can do this, then our clients' businesses will continue to thrive from the growth of digital. This recognises that although cash and the plastic card will still be necessary for some time to come, especially for bricks and mortar merchants, it might not be sufficient. Our job is to help our clients manage this balance between plastic and digital acceptance devices.

To facilitate the move to digital payments, we need additional capabilities and platforms to make payment details available in a secure fashion across a range of digital devices and applications. One such capability is tokenisation -- the technology that replaces a 16-digit credit card number with a "payments token" [to enable payment without exposing a cardholder's more sensitive account information]. Tokenisation is based on the industry tokenisation standard we helped to create, which is now managed by EMV Co. 


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