Card tokenisation: How to tokenise debit and credit card for seamless online payments

Here's how you can tokenise your bank cards and secure your sensitive card information

In a move to protect personal information and secure the payment details of online buyers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced card tokenisation. This will prevent businesses, payment gateways and merchants from storing sensitive card information. Customers will have to manually enter card details for every transaction unless they have tokenised their cards. The card tokenisation replaces the users’ debit and credit card details with token numbers to protect sensitive information and prevent card fraud. That said, if you’re wondering how exactly tokenisation works and how to implement it on your bank cards then stick around to this guide till the end as we explain the step-by-step process and also answer some very common doubts pertaining to the topic.

What is debit and credit card tokenisation?

In order to prevent businesses and payment gateways from obtaining your sensitive debit and credit card details, tokenisation is a way of replacing or masking such details with certain non-sensitive unique codes. With tokenisation in place, merchants will only be able to store the tokenised codes in their systems instead of the actual card details. These codes will be mapped to your card numbers whenever making payments.

How to tokenise your debit and credit cards

The tokenisation of your debit and credit cards can be done when checking out and making payments with your bank cards on various platforms and websites. Here’s how:

Tokenisation of debit card

  • Head over to the app or website through which online payment has to be made using a debit or credit card like payment app, eCommerce websites etc.
  • Enter your card details like your normally would while checking out
  • Now you’ll get a prompt like “secure my card as per RBI guidelines” or “secure your card”
  • Select the ‘save’ option’
  • Next, you’ll get an OTP via SMS on your mobile number for the confirmation
  • Enter the OTP and you’re debit/card will be tokenised

Do note that although card tokenisation is a one-time process, however, users will have to tokenise their cards on all websites or apps they make payments to for the first time. Additionally, tokenisation is applicable only to domestic cards. International cards are not covered yet.

Is the card tokenisation service free?

Card tokenisation is absolutely free and users don’t have to pay any amount for the same. This service is being overlooked by the Reserve Bank of India and has encouraged all merchants and payment gateways to implement it within their system for the security of online buyers. 


When will card tokenisation will come into effect?

Card tokenisation is set to come into effect from October 1, 2022. After this date, all your card details stored on online buying websites such as Flipkart and Amazon will be removed if tokenisation has not been done. Users will have to re-enter their card details and convert them to token numbers the next time they purchase something from the websites.

What will happen if you don’t tokenise your cards?

Although card tokenisation is not mandatory, you may always get the prompt to tokenise it whenever paying online through debit or credit cards. On the other hand, the businesses and merchants may store your card details in their systems which is why the whole tokenisation service has been brought in the first place. It simply adds extra layers of security for the card holders.

How to manage your card tokens?

Once you’ve created card tokens on various apps and websites, you can manage them through the portal provided by your bank. This portal will contain all the information such as the token numbers and the debit/credit cards they are linked with along with the websites or apps they can be used while making payments.

What will happen to the token after the card is replaced or renewed?

Cardholders may have to contact their respective banks in case a debit or credit card associated with a token number is replaced or renewed due to expiration.

Is there any limit on the number of devices on which a card can be tokenised?

Card tokenisation is a service which can be performed through mobile phones and tablets only that on any number of devices. Generating card tokens on PCs & laptops and other smart devices may arrive later.

How to de-tokenise debit and credit card?

De-tokenisation of debit or credit cards refer to the conversion of bank cards back to their actual form. Once it’s done, all the authorities involved may obtain your card details such as debit/card number, CVV, expiration date etc. In case a user is willing to de-tokenise their cards, it can be done only through authorised card networks such as the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) and The Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. The actual de-tokenisation process on a personal level can be done by visiting your bank’s token number portal.