To create a network token, Braintree—acting as a Token Service Provider/Acquirer—sends a card (the PAN) stored in a merchant's Braintree Vault to a card network such as Visa or Mastercard. The card network will then provision a network token which is sent back to Braintree and stored in the merchant's vault. Network Tokens are specific to a card and one merchant; so no one token can be used at more than one merchant.
Once a Network Token is provisioned, it can be used to process a transaction. When a customer goes to checkout, Braintree sends the token from a merchant's vault along with a one-time use cryptogram to the card network who then will exchange the token with a PAN and send to the Issuer to process the transaction.
Unlike a traditional PAN, a Network Token can receive Lifecycle Management (LCM) Updates. These updates occur whenever a card is reissued, stolen, or lost. Traditionally, whenever a card number was updated, the burden was on the cardholder to update their card details before using the card. With Network Tokens, any update from a card issuer is passed through the card network and to Braintree, and the card details are updated in the merchant's Braintree vault. Now, when a cardholder goes to checkout, the updated card/token is ready to use and can help avoid a failed transaction which may lead to churn or cart abandonment.
Coming soon, merchants will also be able to use cards not stored in their Braintree vault to use and process with Network Tokens. This will enable merchants who tokenize cards with another Payment Service Provider (PSP) or who vault Network Tokens themselves to use their existing Network Tokens but process with Braintree.
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