Card-on-File Tokenization: How to Automatically Update Expired Cards

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Credit card declines can be a serious source of consternation for merchants and consumers alike, especially when expired card information is the culprit.

Consumers don’t want the trouble of manually updating their payment information everywhere it’s stored every time they receive a new or updated card. Likewise, merchants don’t want the hassle of contacting the card networks individually to update cards on file when a transaction fails.

However, when outdated cards prevent payments from occurring, consumers can become frustrated, and merchants can lose money. The good news, though, is that it’s 100 percent avoidable.

How? By using an account updater solution.

Keep Card Data Current for Seamless Recurring Payments

Streaming platforms, gym memberships, subscriptions, and other services that are billed on a recurring basis typically rely on stored cardholder data, and many organizations depend on these types of transactions to generate consistent predictable revenue. However, when a customer’s card expires or is canceled due to theft or loss, those recurring payments are in jeopardy.

To address this issue, TokenEx created its new Account Updater service. This additional feature enables our clients to refresh card-on-file data to maintain accurate payment information for their customers without the need to handle sensitive card details directly. The result is fewer declines, increased consumer satisfaction, improved business retention, and reduced overall costs with no complex file creation or significant coding required.

Account Updater Explained

An account updater service exchanges account information updates between card issuers and acquirers (or service providers) for credential-on-file merchants. The account updater service provider will pass the account updater files to the credential-on-file merchants to provide the merchant with up-to-date payment card information, creating a more seamless payment process as cards expire and new cards are issued.

Typically, merchants store data from multiple card brands, so the account updater service provider will inquire for all brands included in the merchant’s updater inquiry file. The account updater service provider will pass on the request for each card to the corresponding card network, which will find the issuer for each card to retrieve the updated card information. This information is then compiled into an updater file that is returned to the service provider and then to the merchant.

In this fashion, TokenEx Account Updater allows for the updating of cardholder data by preparing a basic batch file containing the card details and corresponding TokenEx tokens. When this data is gathered, it can be simply transferred to TokenEx where it will then be detokenized before it’s sent to the card brands to be updated. Once TokenEx receives the response file from the card brands, we tokenize the data therein, generating new tokens for updated card information. Lastly, the tokenized response file is returned to the client so card-on-file data can be updated.

This entire process occurs without exposing your organization to the risk and PCI DSS compliance scope associated with handling and storing raw cardholder data. Additionally, it can simplify billing practices and other financial operations, increase the lifetime value of your customers, help you better predict recurring revenue, and prevent critical service lapses (such as insurance coverage or medical treatment) due to outdated cardholder data. Plus, we can work with you to check for updates as often as you want.

Benefits & Features of TokenEx Account Updater
  • No setup fee
  • Simple implementation
  • Prevent the decline of monthly payments, donations, and other repeat transactions
  • Embrace paperless billing by enabling recurring digital payments
  • Safely store customer cardholder data for easier checkouts
Prevent Card Declines and Processing Failures Without Introducing Scope

With TokenEx Account Updater, you can keep your customer card information updated and protected without ever needing to touch a PAN. The new PANs from the updated accounts are tokenized and safely stored so your business-as-usual processes can continue uninterrupted. You also receive the risk- and scope-reducing benefits of the TokenEx platform.

The secure tokenization of cardholder data to reduce the risk and impact of data breaches while minimizing the cost, complexity, and scope of regulatory compliance is the foundation of our solution. However, its true value is the freedom and flexibility we provide via simple integrations and complementary services for facilitating positive business outcomes. For example, we also offer Network Tokenization and integrations with fraud prevention platforms to help you further protect your customers and enhance authorization rates.

To learn more about our Account Updater service, check out our Seamless Recurring Payments with Account Updater webinar here. For information about our platform and services, contact us today or reach out to us at