In the early days of electronic payments, merchants stored cardholder data (CHD) within their systems for one-time and recurring transactions. Anyone who could access the CHD would see the fully exposed account information. All you could do was hope it did not end up in the wrong hands.
In 2001, TrustCommerce created the concept of tokenization to protect this sensitive transaction data for a new client, Classmates.com. With our focus on payment security, they came to us because they no longer wanted to store customer card holder data. The risk was too great and they were looking for a better solution.
We developed a system, TC Citadel, where they could reference a token and TrustCommerce would process the transaction on their behalf. This secure billing application allowed them to safely and securely process recurring payments without the need to store cardholder payment information. They were able to exchange credit card numbers and ACH information for TrustCommerce issued Billing IDs, known as tokens.
“Classmates was the earliest subscription-based social networking site. In 2001 we were growing by tens of thousands of new registrants a day. We introduced auto-renewals but worried about the risks of the requirement to store credit card information beyond one-time use. The solution for us was the TC Citadel and tokenization which we achieved with TrustCommerce in 2001,” said Randy Conrads, Founder of Classmates.com.
A complement to encryption, tokenization replaces the Primary Account Number (PAN) with secure, randomly generated tokens. If intercepted, the data contains no cardholder information, rendering it useless to hackers. The Primary Account Number (PAN) cannot be retrieved even if the token and the systems it resides on are compromised nor can the token be reverse engineered to arrive at the PAN.
TrustCommerce provides tokens for both single-use and multi-use scenarios. For example, all transactions provide a unique ID that can be used for follow up transactions such as settlement and refund requests.
TC Citadel tokenization has continued to mature and advance over the years. Fortune 100 companies, leading healthcare systems and countless other businesses are using our tokenization solutions today.
To learn more about Authentic Tokenization and the secure and compliant storage of CHD with TrustCommerce, contact us.