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A Thing

Data for Incremental Authorizations

Product: Shift4 Tokenization
Company: Shift4 Corp.

A key element of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard is the strict prohibition of storing cardholder data after the transaction's initial authorization.

If the data aren't there, then they can't be stolen. However, for some merchants, including restaurants and lodging and car rental companies, incremental authorizations form a significant part of their transactions. Merchants may need to briefly store card data to charge an extra night's hotel stay, or to add a tip to a dinner ticket.

How can these merchants comply with the no-storage rule and still authorize the transactions? Shift4 provides a solution with the rollout of Shift4 Tokenization.

The transaction process begins like any other. A merchant swipes the card, the POS system first sends encrypted data to Shift4's payment gateway, called $$$ ON THE NET, which then sends data to the processor for approval.

Upon approval, the merchant would normally receive the card data along with the approval code. Instead, Shift4 sends back a "Token," a unique, random representation of credit card data that is 16 characters long. Only the Token is stored in the system for further transactions.

When a merchant needs to add a tip or additional night's stay to a bill, the Token, which functions in exactly the same way as the real card number, is used. Now there is absolutely no need for the card data beyond the initial swipe.

Tokenization is easily implemented and installed even in existing legacy systems.

All merchants must do is to ensure that their POS or property management system (a hotel's POS equivalent) can receive the token in its alphanumeric form, just as the system would receive the card data.

The token goes in the same data field used for the actual card number. Its last four digits are the same as the last four on the card, which allows for seamless implementation of the tokenization process.

Shift4 has decided not to seek any patents or copyright protection for this service.

The company hopes that others will take this idea and integrate it into their own systems in order to provide added security throughout the card processing industry.

Shift4 Corp.

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