Contactless cards have made paying at the till a lot easier and more convenient. It can take just seconds for you to settle a bill with one of these cards.
However, it might be the very speed and ease-of-use of contactless payments that makes you wary of them. Just how secure are they?
Ocean takes a closer look.
The spending limit on contactless cards increased last year as more shoppers chose to pay for their purchases in this way. You can now spend up to £30 per contactless transaction.
So, if you’re grabbing a few groceries, paying for petrol, or buying a round of drinks at the bar, you can save valuable time by paying contactless. However, if your bill comes to over £30, you’ll be asked to pay using the chip and PIN method.
Is it safe?
Perhaps the biggest worry about contactless cards is that if your card is stolen, the thief can use it to pay for things without being asked to provide a PIN number. Contactless doesn’t require the seller to ask the buyer to input their unique PIN number and confirm they are who they say they are in order to complete the transaction.
However, the advice if your card is stolen is the same regardless of whether or not it has the contactless facility – let your card provider know straight away. They can then cancel it so that the thief isn’t able to use it.
There were reports last year that some customers saw transactions appear on their statement after they’d informed their provider that their contactless card had gone missing and had it cancelled. This may be because contactless payments are made offline to allow them to be completed quickly, which means that they can be made after that card has been cancelled.
But before you throw your card out, you’ll be reassured to know that some banks will let you know if they spot payments after the card has been cancelled. And if you check your statement for any suspicious activity and report it, they should provide you with a refund.
To give you additional peace of mind, according to the UK Cards Association, just 2p in every £100 spent using contactless technology was the result of fraudulent activity in the first six months of 2015.
The choice is yours
You can find out more information on paying and using contactless card readers here – and how to stay safe when doing so. But remember; even if you have a contactless card, you don’t have to use the facility. If you would rather use your PIN number, you can do. And if you do have any concerns at all that you don’t recognise some of the spending that’s showing up on your account, speak to your card provider straight away, so you can get to the bottom of it together.
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