Tokenization today is used everywhere: it doesn’t matter if you pay by your phone or by credit card online. Did you know, that this fall is 10 years since it was used for the first time for transactions? And now we will tell you about how it was in the beginning.

Transaction Security Summit was held on 28-29 September 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event was dedicated to new security tools. Shift4 released one of the biggest innovations. This company ranked #19 on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500” list of the fastest-growing private companies. It was first, who tested tokenization. This is a new tool that lets merchants safely store and re-use credit card data.

How does it work?

Tokenization looks like a complicated encryption method. But we will explain it in simple language. Let’s look at the example.

You buy chocolate at an online shop and pay by card. Your credit card has a number 1111 **** **** 0000. Once you enter this data, the tokenization starts. Your data is encrypted in the token. This is a random set of numbers, that has nothing in common with the original information. So merchant sends this token to Shift4. There your data transforms into real credit card info and is sent to your bank to get a confirmation. Then Shift4 sends the token to the merchant with bank information about your transaction.

And if the merchant wants to use your data again, for example, to adjust shipping fees, without re-entering the consumer account data, he uses the token.

What do you need to install this tool?

Shift4 Tokenization requires changes on the POS and PMS side. You need to:

  • Add an extension, that will ask for this block;
  • Store somewhere the tokens.

But don’t be afraid this is an easy task. You can store the token in the empty card number field. It is already setup to receive this type of data. Moreover, all the POS and PMS system reports will still be functional.

Shift4 guarantees, that the implementation will be seamless. This tool is already available and you can implement it right now even if you have pending sales or open tickets.

How much does it cost?

Shift4 Tokenization suits to small and middle-sized businesses. The total cost depends on the number of transactions and starts from about $25 to several hundred dollars per month.


Safety question still stays one of the main important in today’s world. Shift4 promises that new technology will protect you and your customers from fraudsters. They will have no opportunity to steal personal data because it’s impossible to translate token into usable credit card account information.