Card-Present Tokenization: Keep Customers Happy And Accept Credit Cards With Zero Friction

Fact: convenience is a huge deal when it comes to keeping your customers happy. Most modern consumers are used to purchasing products and services across multiple channels (i.e., brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, mobile, etc.). They value seamless shopping experiences that allow them to buy quickly and effortlessly, regardless of platform or location.

As such, attracting and retaining customers calls for an omnichannel approach to how you interact with buyers. This applies not just to the purchasing experience but also to payments

Enabling customers to pay for their purchases with the least amount of friction—but with highest amount of security—is critical if you want to stay competitive in today’s market. 

Enter card-present tokenization, a feature by Stax that enables merchants to accept payments in person and instantly tokenize payment data for future transactions. Essentially, you’ll be able to reuse that token to process payments and refunds later on. 

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What is Card-Present Tokenization?

Card-present tokenization allows merchants to process payments face-to-face and capture payment details for immediate tokenization. With this capability, you only have to ask customers to provide their payment info once, and tokenize it to securely store that data and continuously serve customers in the future.

Todd Bledsoe, Product Marketing Manager at Stax, says it best: “Card-present tokenization enables merchants to truly deliver a seamless omnichannel experience in managing and conducting transactions. It bridges the gap between different shopping channels, ensuring a cohesive and satisfying customer experience, no matter where or how a customer chooses to shop.”

How it Works


If you’re a Stax merchant, enabling card-present tokenization is easy and doesn’t come with additional costs. 

From a more technical point of view, card-present tokenization works through a 6-step process:

  1. A payment is initiated
  2. The token is requested by the credit card company
  3. The merchant receives token
  4. The token is sent to be authorized
  5. The token is approved by the user
  6. Transaction is completed

The Key Benefits and Use Cases of Card-Present Tokenization

Card-present tokenization makes life easier for both you and your customers. Consider the following. 

Instantly and securely capture payment information for future transactions across multiple channels

As mentioned above, card-present tokenization lets you collect and tokenize data instantly so you can store and use that information in the future. The beauty of this feature is that even when you capture the data in a brick-and-mortar setting, you can still transact with your customers across multiple channels, including online and over the phone. 

This is a significant value-add to your customers because it means you won’t have to repeatedly ask for their payment info. As Stax Sales Engineer Tulio Troncoso puts it, “For the cardholder, there’s the obvious convenience of paying with the card they used the last time. There are no more scenarios of them saying, ‘If I gave you my card before, why am I giving it to you again?'”

Tulio continues, “They also get the experience of having used a payment method in one channel and getting to use that same method somewhere else.”

Use case: A consultant could capture the client’s payment information in their office. When the client gets home, they decide to purchase additional services, so they call the consultant, who then processes the payment over the phone. 

Launch subscriptions and recurring charges

The benefits of card-present tokenization go beyond payment security. Once you’ve captured your customer’s credit card information, you can easily set them up for subscriptions and recurring payments. 

“Card-present tokenization lets merchants initiate a membership or a subscription plan from an in-person swipe,” explains Todd. “The feature simplifies setting up recurring payments, making it seamless to transition one-time customers into long-term clients.”

Use case: A chiropractor could launch a subscription-based model that allows patients to come in a certain number of times per month when they pay a flat recurring fee. 

Implement omnichannel refunds

No merchant wants to deal with refunds, but it’s part of the territory of running a business. With card-present tokenization, issuing refunds is a frictionless process because you don’t have to ask customers for their credit card or account information when handling returns and refunds. 

Since you already have their payment data on file, you can quickly process the refund and send the funds back using the original payment method.

The best part? This capability functions across multiple channels, so you can manage returns and refunds consistently, regardless of where the purchase was initially made.

Use case: A customer purchases an item from a retailer via their website and decides to return the product in-store. Because the retailer has a true omnichannel solution, they simply scan the product and instantly process the refund, maintaining a smooth customer experience.

Charge card on file for canceled appointments or no-shows

Merchants can also use card-present tokenization to enforce their no-show policies. If your business operates through appointments, you can charge a fee if someone cancels or doesn’t show up at the scheduled time. 

Use case: A hair salon could decide to implement a policy requiring customers to let their stylist know within 24 hours if they can’t make the appointment. Using card-present tokenization, the salon can automatically charge a cancellation fee to the customer’s card on file if they don’t comply with the salon’s appointment policy.

Tokenize card data without charging the customer

Card-present tokenization lets you tokenize card data without charging the credit card. You can swipe the card into the terminal and store the payment info on file without having to process an actual transaction at the time of entry.

Use case: A medical clinic can use this feature to swipe a patient’s card at the time of their visit and hold the data on file. The actual charge is processed later on, once insurance details and copay amounts are finalized.

Reduce the risk of fraud and data breaches

Card-present tokenization can beef up your security by reducing the opportunities for data compromise.

Tulio explains, “If I’m a customer entering my card into fewer places, then I’m also reducing the risk for anyone to steal my information at any of those points.”

He continues, “As a consumer, I question companies that don’t offer this today. I would ask, ‘Why don’t you have this? I gave you my card last time; you must not have your situation set up properly.'”

Use case: A pro service provider can rest easy knowing they’re not unnecessarily collecting credit data. With card-present tokenization, they only need to capture credit data once, minimizing the chances of fraud each time they transact with clients. 

Final words

Transform how you interact with and retain your customers with card-present tokenizationby offering a true omnichannel solution. By centralizing payment methods and securing customer data, Stax not only helps you enhance operational efficiency but also elevates customer trust and satisfaction. 

Whether it’s simplifying subscriptions, easing refunds, or minimizing fraud risks, card-present tokenization has got you covered. 

Get in touch with us to learn more.

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