Contactless payment has become something of a norm now, but it’s still not uncommon to hear people share their worries over how easy it would be for thieves to spend money using a stolen card.
In the UK, one in four card payments are made using the quick-tap method – which adds up to more than £3.3 billion every month.
So what’s the deal with contactless – could a contactless debit card just be found or even taken and used to empty someone’s current account?
Well, according to the UK Cards Association – the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK – contactless cards have a number of built-in prevention measures and “contactless fraud is low”.
So, is it safe?
It’s nowhere near as risky as the rumours and myths make out, that’s for sure.
The main issues people worry about when it comes to contactless payment is fraud and losing money through numerous transactions (if the card is stolen or found).
Contactless cards, according to the UK Cards Association, are built using the same secure system as Chip and PIN, so you can be fully confident when paying and “every contactless card includes a range of robust security features which safeguards your information and protects you against fraud”.
A spokesman for the trade body added: “Contactless fraud is low, at 0.027 per cent of contactless spending, down from 0.036 per cent in 2015 and a much lower rate than overall card fraud.”
It’s also not possible to have money stolen by having your card “tapped” while you’re out and about, and the card association say “waving a card reader about in the street or on a train couldn’t take a payment from passers-by and there’s never been any verified report of this ever happening in the UK” .
If my card is stolen, how much can they spend?
“The limit for a contactless card transaction is £30,” said the UK Cards Association spokesman.
But that’s not the only theft deterrent.
He adds: “Every card has a built-in security check that requires you to enter your PIN from time to time to verify you are the genuine cardholder.
“This is triggered when a certain number or total value of contactless transactions are made in a row – this number/value would be set by the individual bank or card company.”
So in theory, your bank will probably cotton on pretty quickly and the built-in safety measures will kick in too – and if the person with the card is asked for a PIN, there’s not much they can do.
What about contactless payments on mobile phones?
“With a mobile device , it’s possible to make a higher value contactless transaction which is above £30, provided there is customer verification,” the spokesman said.
“This can only be made using a device that supports a method of customer authentication, for example a smartphone.
“This authentication process will take place on the customer device and may be through the use of a passcode, or a form of biometric identifier such as a fingerprint.”
What do I do if my card is stolen?
If you realise your card has been stolen or lost – you “should contact your bank or card company straight away”.
There is good news however, as if you do lose money through contactless transactions you didn’t make, you’ll get it back from your bank.
“If you are victim of card fraud you will get your money back from your bank and will never be left out of pocket, unlike if you lose cash,” the spokesman said.
For more information, check out the UK Cards Association’s website.
Source: Wales Online