As mobile payments – and the security risks associated with them – gain traction, the need to protect users’ personal information grows too, a fact that hasn’t escaped the notice of Canada’s leading debit service provider.

Enter the Interac Token Service Provider (TSP), the Interac Association’s new service, developed in collaboration with IBM and others, that allows financial institutions, retailers, and other partners to ensure the security of mobile payments by substituting a user’s financial information with a “token” – a unique, randomly generated sequence of numbers that is meaningless to unauthorized parties and can only be used on the initial user’s mobile device.

“As the digital landscape evolves and grows, we will continue to transform our payment solutions to ensure consumers and merchants can continue relying on Interac products,” Avinash Chidambaram, Interac’s vice president of product and platform development, said in a Feb. 22 statement. “Having our own TSP is a natural evolution.”

In addition to IBM, development of the Interac TSP was supported by mobile payment software firm Bell ID and Everlink Payment Services Inc.

The concept of tokenization is nothing new for Interac, which has made the process integral to the security of its other products, including the company’s debit cards, which feature an identifier but not an account number in front, Interac Online, which uses a one-time identifier to complete each transaction, and the Interac e-Transfer service, which requires only an email or a mobile phone number, with no account information shared between senders and recipients.

In addition to the new system’s security, Interac is also emphasizing the TSP’s ease of use: the underlying technology can be used on any mobile device capable of using the company’s mobile payment system, and partners such as financial institutions, mobile technology providers, and retailers can make easy adjustments to suit their needs.

More information regarding the Interac TSP can be found at the company’s website.

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