With the introduction of Apple Pay in Germany for many the question now is: How safe is Paying with the mobile phone actually is? Could possibly go to a thief on a Shopping Tour, when he stole the iPhone? And where is my payment to land data? Finally, there are always reports of hacker attacks, in which the data of millions of customers of company computers to be copied.

Volker Koppe, digital head of Visa in Europe, wants to reassure the user. In the case of the credit card providers, a method known as tokenization is in the core of the hedge. Although the Bank customers are shown on his iPhone, the last digits of his credit card number, in fact, is a completely different number. In the case of Apple Pay is a “device account number”, in Google Pay a “Virtual account number”. In General, such numbers are referred to as “tokens”.

This will be scanned with the camera of the smartphone the number on the credit card and Visa sent. The Kreditkartenfirm then checks whether the issuing offering Bank Apple Pay. The test is successful, so to speak, creates a virtual credit card number, the Token is sent, Apple, and stored encrypted on the iPhone.


The real credit card number, however, Apple doesn’t see it, according to Koppe, the one-time generated Token can only allocate visas to the associated credit card account. The data transfers between the iPhone and the Visa servers are encrypted according to Koppe.

The decoupling of the plastic – and mobile world

decoupled So going to “the plastic world of the Mobile world,” says Koppe. If you use the same credit card, for example, in the case of Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Netflix, for each provider, a different virtual card number, a different Token is calculated.


“Any Token that is generated can be specific to a device (e.g. a Smartphone), a distributor (e.g. Netflix), or a type of use (e.g. E-Commerce). The Token for fraud will be worthless if you try to steal him away, and otherwise use,” says Koppe.

Also if you set up Apple Pay on an iPhone and an iPad that are stored on the two devices different Tokens for the same card. The advantage of this is you Lose about Smartphone, you can lock the Token, the underlying credit card but continue to use. Conversely, if, for example, the credit card is stolen and therefore is replaced, would the Visa update credit card data in its System. The various systems and devices stored Tokens, you could use more.

Is this the breakthrough?

Accordingly, the Pay with the Smartphone seems to be safer than using the credit card, whose number could, for example, when you Pay in the Restaurant copied. Such a possibility is there for Apple Pay, Google Pay, because the credit card number is never in appearance. The Tokenization also creates additional security, because every service, every device has a number of its own virtual credit card that can be locked separately.

But still, the Pay by Smartphone in Germany, far from everyday life. Unlike in countries that are already discussing the abolition of cash, as well as Sweden, is predominant in this country, the skepticism of non-cash payments.

“According to the EHI Retail Institute is about half of the sales in Germany are still with cash. Other markets are much more than we do. In England, France, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Spain it is quite normal that I have my Two-Euro coffee with the card to pay,” says Koppe.

The Visa Manager is convinced, however, that could change that now. He says: “I think actually that Apple and Google have what it takes to change that. Because Apple has the Coolness factor. And if you have tried it for once, the people will know just how fast the phone is to Pay. The supermarkets will be happy, because the Cash comes faster. And in terms of cost it makes no difference.”

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.