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What is card tokenisation? Here are some FAQs answered

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New Delhi, Jun 24: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday extended the deadline of card-on-file (CoF) tokenisation norms from an earlier June 30, 2022 deadline by 3 more months to September 30, 2022.

RBI extends implementation of card tokenisation norms by 3 months; deadline extended till 30 September

The extension of the deadline comes as RBI highlighted that "transaction processing based on these tokens has also commenced, though it is yet to gain traction across all categories of merchants."

The step was taken after consultation with the stakeholders and to avoid disruption and inconvenience to cardholders, the release said.

Earlier, the RBI had directed the merchants to implement its tokenisation norms by June 30, 2022. The central bank has twice extended the deadline of its implementation in the past. Card-on-file or CoF refers to card information stored by payment gateway and merchants to process future transactions.

Card tokenisation FAQs you need to know & why it is important to your credit and debit cards

What is tokenisation?

Tokenisation refers to replacement of actual card details with an alternate code called the "token", which shall be unique for a combination of card, token requestor (i.e. the entity which accepts request from the customer for tokenisation of a card and passes it on to the card network to issue a corresponding token) and device (referred hereafter as "identified device").

What is the benefit of tokenisation?

A tokenised card transaction is considered safer as the actual card details are not shared with the merchant during transaction processing.

What are the use cases (instances / scenarios) for which tokenisation has been allowed?

Tokenisation has been allowed through mobile phones and / or tablets for all use cases / channels (e.g., contactless card transactions, payments through QR codes, apps etc.)


What are the charges that the customer need to pay for availing this service?

The customer need not pay any charges for availing this service.

Who can perform tokenisation and de-tokenisation?

Tokenisation and de-tokenisation can be performed only by the authorised card network. The list of card networks authorised by RBI to operate in India is available on RBI website.

Who are the parties / stakeholders in a tokenisation transaction?

Normally, in a tokenised card transaction, parties / stakeholders involved are merchant, the merchant's acquirer, card payment network, token requestor, issuer and customer. However, an entity, other than those indicated, may also participate in the transaction.

Are the customer card details safe after tokenisation?

Actual card data, token and other relevant details are stored in a secure mode by the authorised card networks. Token requestor cannot store Primary Account Number (PAN), i.e., card number, or any other card detail. Card networks are also mandated to get the token requestor certified for safety and security that conform to international best practices / globally accepted standards.

Is tokenisation of card mandatory for a customer?

No, a customer can choose whether or not to let his / her card tokenised.

Does the customers have the option to select tokenisation for a particular use case?

Customers have the option to register / de-register their card for a particular use case, i.e., contactless, QR code based, in-app payments, etc.

How does the process of registration for a tokenisation request work?

The registration for a tokenisation request is done only with explicit customer consent through Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA), and not by way of a forced / default / automatic selection of check box, radio button, etc. Customer will also be given choice of selecting the use case and setting-up of limits.

Can the customer set / select own limits for tokenised card transactions?

Customers have the option to set and modify per transaction and daily transaction limits for tokenised card transactions.

Is there any limit on the number of cards that a customer can request for tokenisation?

A customer can request for tokenisation of any number of cards. For performing a transaction, the customer shall be free to use any of the cards registered with the token requestor app.

Is there any limit on the number of devices on which a card can be tokenised?

A customer can request for tokenisation of his / her card on any number of devices. However, as of now, this facility shall be offered through mobile phones / tablets only.

Whom shall the customer contact in case of any issues with his / her tokenised card? Where and how can he / she report loss of device?

All complaints should be made to the card issuers. Card issuers shall ensure easy access to customers for reporting loss of "identified device" or any other such event which may expose tokens to unauthorised usage.

Can a card issuer refuse tokenisation of a particular card?

Based on risk perception, etc., card issuers may decide whether to allow cards issued by them to be registered by a token requestor.

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