Is it… safe?
It’s as safe as using a good old chip and PIN card and statistics have actually shown that fraudulent use of contactless cards is teeny tiny. Just 0.007% of all contactless transactions were as a result of fraud in the first six months of 2014.
An additional security layer also means that every now and again, you’ll be asked to enter your PIN just to make sure it’s really you that’s using your card. Like with any other credit or debit card, if you think it’s been stolen, report it to your bank or building society straight away – you’ll be protected against any loss and compensated for any fraudulent use.
Of course, like with any new technology, there’ll be concerns and even some scare stories – so here are the facts:
• Someone could take my money by scanning my card – it’s highly unlikely that this would or even could happen. Stores need to have a retail account set up in order to take money from a card and the checks for this are pretty rigorous in the first place. It also means that all payments can be tracked so you know exactly where they’ve gone. Terminals accepting contactless payments also work in a specific way – you need to be close to the reader and it can’t be near any metal objects.
• Payments could be taken accidently – your card will need to be very close to the payment terminal (just a few centimetres) in order to make a purchase, simply walking past a till point won’t suddenly drain your account of funds.
• I could be charged twice – contactless payment readers can’t multitask and can only deal with one transaction at a time and all transactions need to be keyed in separately. Even if you had two contactless cards in your wallet and waved your wallet over the terminal, the conflicting transmissions from both cards would mean neither would work.
• If I wrap my contactless card with foil, it’ll stop it being read – no official tests have been carried out but anecdotally and in some cases, it can prevent your card from being read, so it’s up to you if you want to carry your credit/debit card around like a sandwich (although you might get some funny looks when it comes to paying for your stuff).