Tokenization for deposit and checking account information, which ensures a customer’s banking account and routing numbers are never transmitted along with a payment, will soon be available for financial institutions that utilize the RTP® and EPN networks, the real-time payments and Automated Clearing House (ACH) networks operated by The Clearing House.
Secure Token Exchange (STE) for customer deposit and checking accounts is a new, optional capability currently available for the RTP network that issues tokens for a customer’s bank account and routing numbers. These tokens can be used like real account numbers for transactions over the RTP network. This helps to reduce the instances of a customer’s bank account numbers being stored outside of their bank, such as with a fintech app, a biller, retailer, or other third parties. Customer deposit and checking account tokenization for EPN is targeting availability later this quarter.
Tokens for customer deposit and checking accounts use random digits to substitute a customer’s actual account numbers when making a payment. Even if compromised, the token can be deactivated, rendering it useless to cybercriminals.
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PNC Bank is one of the first financial institutions to utilize STE for customer deposit and checking accounts. More than nine million PNC customers will be able to have their account numbers tokenized when making payments over the RTP network or EPN.
“Enabling tokenization of our customer account numbers represents a further step in our journey to helping customers more securely transact with the third parties of their choice,” said Bill Demchak, PNC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This capability is in lock step with our commitment to safeguarding our customers’ accounts by providing avenues for them to grant secure access to the financial information that they entrust to us.”
Akoya LLC is the first third-party service provider to utilize STE for tokenizing account numbers on behalf of financial institutions connected as data providers to its Akoya Data Access Network. Fintechs and other data recipients will be able to retrieve tokenized account numbers directly through Akoya.
“Akoya can automatically swap real account and routing numbers for tokens and pass them to fintechs and data aggregators for financial institutions,” said Stuart Rubinstein, CEO of Akoya. “This mitigates considerable security and risk concerns for payment enablement and works seamlessly with existing payment rails.”
“In today’s connected and digital economy, customers increasingly use electronic payments to make purchases, send money to friends and family, and to pay bills,” said Jim Aramanda, President and CEO, The Clearing House. “Tokenization for customer account numbers, which replaces the actual account numbers with a token, is another step financial institutions can take to make their customers’ accounts even more secure when making payments.”
The RTP network gives the banking industry a modern platform for domestic payments, complete with rich data capabilities and immediate payment confirmation. The system enables instantaneous settlement and availability to payment recipients, so those funds can be used or withdrawn as cash within seconds. The RTP network currently reaches 61% of U.S. demand deposit accounts and all federally insured depository institutions, regardless of size, can join the network. More than 240 financial institutions use the RTP network, with more joining each week. Since 2017, the RTP network has offered a flat pricing structure for all depository institutions that does not have monthly fees, volume discounts, or minimum volume requirements.
EPN is the industry’s private sector ACH service, helping financial institutions process and settle ACH transactions and providing related services. Year over year, EPN continues to grow and reliably processes approximately 70 million transactions each day, with over 121 million transactions during the most recent daily peak.