Consumers love paying with new devices. Checking out at a grocery store with a watch, buying lunch with a phone or ordering dinner with your car’s dashboard—the latest device is always the hero. But the real hero is what’s underneath. The token.
What is a token?
A token is a simply a substitute for something of value. One of the original tokens in payments was the account number printed on a debit card. The primary account number (PAN) was the token—a valueless number. The PAN represented something of value—the bank account. Lose the card, or the token, and the bank account remained safe.
The use of tokens neutralizes sensitive payment information, creating opportunities for new formats and new technologies. Previously untapped industries can now enter the payments space. A washing machine company can now facilitate the purchase of buying detergent, without needing to store the owner’s payment information underneath the spin cycle indicator; the token takes care of it.