Businesses that accept your credit card information for an online purchase aren’t necessarily thrilled about being responsible for safeguarding your account number. That’s because the more payment information they have to take care of, the harder it is—and more expensive it is—to maintain their PCI compliance.

The fewer bytes of valuable information they have to hang onto, the better.

Customers likewise should have their own concerns about passing on credit card numbers to the merchants they do business with. Who will have access to it once it’s in the merchant’s possession, and for how long?

There are exceptions, of course—times when you need not worry so much.

For example, say you pull up to a restaurant or hospital and decide to take advantage of their valet system, made easier by SMS Valet. You make the transaction using your credit card. The security concerns mentioned above are largely avoided thanks to the data protection system SMS Valet employs known as tokenization.

Tokenization and SMS Valet

Here’s how it works: a restaurant, a hospital, this time it’s a hotel—the customer initiates the parking transaction with his or her credit card. The number is sent to the merchant’s payment processor to open up a transaction account. Since the transaction isn’t complete yet, there’s the possibility that the credit card number and related data will be available to the merchant operating the parking service as well as any third party who comes in contact with those records—i.e. the thief or hacker—until it is.

Only in a transaction with SMS Valet, the credit card number isn’t available anywhere on the merchant’s network. It’s been replaced by a token—an arbitrary string of numbers and letters that sort of look like an account number but aren’t.

The real account number is being stored deep in the payment processor’s data security vault. The merchant is dealing now entirely with the token, which can’t be used in a transaction with any other merchant.

So the token, to any other person who comes in contact with it, is completely meaningless. Think of it as a placeholder that the merchant uses until the transaction is complete.

Peace of Mind All Around

In other words, tokenization removes the heavy burden a retailer—think valet service—would otherwise shoulder of storing and protecting a customer’s credit card information. Meanwhile the customer on the other side of the transaction doesn’t have to worry about who might have access to their account or what precautions are being used to guard it.

SMS Valet enables restaurants, hospitals, hotels, anyone who manages a valet parking system to streamline their operations. Payment, customer service, everything that goes in to running a successful business—it’s all made easier by SMS Valet. And the best part: the customer’s sensitive financial information is removed from the transaction almost immediately, so that you, the merchant, aren’t left devising complicated encryption schemes to protect it.

Want to learn more about SMS Valet’s hassle-free startup?

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