Alliance Activities : Publications : EMVCo Payment Account Reference: A Primer

EMVCo Payment Account Reference: A Primer

Publication Date: April 2018

The tokenization process in payment transactions replaces primary account number (PAN) data with a surrogate value.  Use of the surrogate value, or token, provides increased protection against fraud and account data compromise by removing the PAN from potentially vulnerable parts of the payments environment.  It is important to note that there are several types of tokenization models, such as acquirer tokenization, security tokenization, issuer tokenization and EMV® payment tokenization.

This paper focuses on EMV payment tokenization which is the type of token that’s used in mobile wallet transactions such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.  While payment tokenization has improved the security of the payments ecosystem, it creates challenges for products and services that rely on the PAN to identify a customer’s account (such as loyalty and rewards accounts), and for operational services related to a payment transaction (including customer care).

The PAR was designed to play an important role in providing the ability to link multiple payment tokens with a PAN.

To address these challenges, EMVCo has introduced a new data element, called the Payment Account Reference (PAR).  The Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council developed this white paper to provide a high-level overview of PAR and its use cases for merchants, acquirers, issuers, service providers and other stakeholders.  This white paper uses the definitions of payment tokenization and payment tokens from the relevant EMVCo specifications and bulletins cited below.  It explains what the PAR is and why it is important, describes how PAR data can be accessed and how the PAR can be leveraged in certain nonpayment use cases, and identifies the impact that PAR may have on key stakeholders.

It is expected that many next generation payment devices will leverage payment tokenization.  The PAR was designed to play an important role in providing the ability to link multiple payment tokens with a PAN.  The Secure Technology Alliance recommends that all payments industry stakeholders become familiar with the PAR and assess how it can solve current challenges and support future requirements.

About this White Paper

This white paper was developed by the Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council to provide a primer on the EMVCo Payment Account Reference (PAR), document expected use cases for the PAR and describe the impact of PAR implementation on key payments ecosystem stakeholders.  Secure Technology Alliance and  U.S. Payments Forum participants involved in the development of this white paper included:  American ExpressCapital OneCPI Card GroupFirst DataJPMorgan ChaseMastercardMetropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)RambusTransportation District of Oregon (TriMet)TSYSVisa.