← Back

3 Minutes

How Tokenization is Transforming Urban Mobility with Cybersource

There are many drivers for transit operators to enable open-loop tap-to-ride payments. But how are leading companies navigating that journey and how is tokenization transforming mobility? We had the pleasure to sit with Ken Ritchie, Senior Director at Cybersource, to look at best-practice approaches to roll out seamless mobility solutions.

How Tokenization is Transforming Urban Mobility with cybersource

Could you tell us shortly about the Cybersource solution and your relationship with Visa? 

Cybersource pioneered online solutions for businesses to accept credit cards 25 years ago, and has grown into a global payment management platform that creates flexible, creative commerce solutions to help businesses scale, adapt and grow with 24/7 support. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa, Cybersource has access to a global network of issuers and acquirers, as well as Visa’s world-class security infrastructure. Today, more than 480,000 merchants worldwide use Cybersource and Authorize.net solutions.  

What is the difference between tokenization services over regular classical PSP and what Cybersource can offer? 

Tokenization in and of itself is not anything new. It was originally created to mitigate the exposure of sensitive information and it’s a central capability for enabling cohesive consumer experiences and helping to fight against fraud. At its core, tokenization replaces a cardholder’s 16-digit Visa account number with a secure token that protects the underlying card number from fraudsters. It is the process of sensitive payment data being replaced by a different, unrelated value called a token. The value cannot be reversed and is useless to hackers.

Cybersource’s Token Management Service capabilities provide secure, seamless experiences, and the ability to manage a “token of tokens” for better customer insight. For example, our service tokenizes cardholders themselves, and their payments on any credit or debit card. Our tokenization solution also captures additional information such as delivery addresses, statement addresses, and so on. Our solution is unique because it doesn't matter what channel the cardholder uses – whether they're using an app or vending machine, buying a ticket online, or they use a tap and go type of product, all that information easily comes back in a single token.

For instance, on transit, there was a requirement to support solution providers who do not have the capability to protect sensitive information on their platforms. To help transit operators meet this requirement, we added an auto management solution that allows us to tokenize transit information. 

How can an open-loop payments system facilitate sustainable mobility?

Open loop contactless payments have gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for transit operators in order to provide customers with safe and secure solutions through COVID-19 and beyond – they are a significant catalyst for bringing people back to transit. Visa’s Future of Urban Mobility Study found that 88% of riders expect contactless payments and ticketing options on public transit. 

88% of riders expect contactless payments and ticketing options on public transit. 

Enabling open-loop payments on transit comes with a host of benefits, including sustainability. It eliminates the need for traditional paper tickets, or one-time-use plastic cards, and creates more efficiencies for riders who want to quickly on their journey. That being said, I do not see closed-loop systems disappearing in their entirety, they have a valid role to play, but using existing digital technology to reduce waste helps create a more sustainable future. 

the mobility ecosystem
The mobility ecosystem. Source: CyberSource

Standardization is a key issue, do you believe Cybersource could play an active role in supporting forums in which competitors could discuss mutual development of specs?

With the role Cybersource plays in the payments space, we support a level of standardization across mass transit. For example, a couple of areas that could benefit from standardization are fuel cards and EV charging. Urban mobility is a rapidly evolving area, fuelled by a lot of innovation. My advice to new entrants is to engage with payments leaders to make sure that the initiatives they are proposing make sense from a payments perspective.

What’s next on Cybersource’s roadmap?

Our current focus is to add more solutions to our transit capabilities, and to continue to keep our pulse on functionality the market can benefit from. We also work closely with partners around mobility as a service to understand the possibilities.

About Ken Ritchie 

As a Senior Director at Cybersource, Ken looks after the Urban Mobility vertical. He believes in developing solutions that let people do more of what they want to do than what they have to do. He focuses on delivering Travel and Urban Mobility solutions that drive sustainability, lower costs, and delight customers and cardholders.

About Cybersource

At Cybersource, we know payments. We helped kick start the eCommerce revolution in 1994 and haven’t looked back since. Through global reach, modern capabilities, and commerce insights, we create flexible, creative commerce solutions for everyday life—experiences that delight your customers and spur growth globally. Cybersource is a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa, Inc.  

Related articles