Visa Inc announced that it has released more than 4 billion network tokens globally via its security technology Visa Token Service (VTS), outnumbering the overall quantity of physical cards in circulation.

VTS protects the underlying account information by replacing 16-digit Visa account numbers with a token that can be unlocked only by Visa.

Without exposing the consumer’s account to fraud, tokenization enables frictionless, card-free payments,” according to Jack Forestell, executive vice president and chief product officer at Visa.

The service’s success, pushed by the pledge of safe and secure online transactions, coincides with an increase in online spending ever since global outbreak of COVID-19.

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According to data from the United States Department of Commerce, e-commerce volume has increased by more than 50% since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Visa stated that since launching VTS in 2014, it has issued 1 billion tokens, with growth accelerating to 2 billion in 2021 before doubling this year.

The demand is unlikely to wane, with most consumers maintaining the lockdown habit of swiping cards online and companies continuing to invest in making digital platforms more secure and user friendly.

E-commerce is now happening everywhere. Online happens in-store as merchants look to provide more options for consumers. In-store, your phone can also be your Visa card,” Forestell added.

VTS is a payments security platform that is interoperable with popular apps such as Alphabet Inc‘s Google Pay and Apple Pay. It provides various solutions for retail customers as well as organisations such as banks and clearing houses.

Late in July, Visa disclosed quarterly profit that exceeded Wall Street expectations, owing to resilient consumer spending that has so far been unaffected by high inflation and a summer travel boom across much of the United States.

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