Pay, tap, Done.
You can “tap,” or hold, your contactless credit or debit card over a payment terminal to complete a transaction.
The most recent development in credit card technology is contactless payment, which replaces the older methods of swiping cards with magnetic stripes and dipping cards with EMV chips. Apart from its ease of use, contactless technology is engineered to enhance payment security compared to traditional techniques utilized for in-person transactions.
In the US, the technology is also gaining traction: 95% of new terminals are contactless equipped, while 70% of retailers claim to already have terminals that can handle contactless payments.
So, is it safe to use contactless cards? Before you begin tapping, take note of these points.
Is it safest to use contactless credit cards for payments?
The most noticeable enhanced security feature of contactless credit and debit cards is their ability to be used for payment. Contactless cards reduce the possibility of credit card fraud by enabling payments to be made without the card ever making contact with a payment terminal.
Furthermore, every contactless card payment generates a unique, one-time code that is particular to the transaction and cannot be repeated beforehand. Only credit card processing networks are able to read these codes, which are unrepeatable.
How do contactless transactions operate?
Your card employs short-range wireless technology to submit the payment for authorization when you tap it within a few inches of the contactless payment sign on a payment terminal. At that point, your credit card information is verified by the payment terminal, and contactless card payments generate a unique, transaction-specific code that is sent to credit card processing networks.
To protect your credit card information and personal details, contactless credit cards and debit cards use near-field communication and radio-frequency identification technology during the transaction.
Similar contactless technology is used by mobile wallets, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, which enable you to make payments without physically entering your credit card into a payment terminal.
How to use a debit or credit card that is contactless
Hold your credit card close to the contactless symbol on the payment terminal in order to use a credit card equipped with contactless technology.
After a few seconds of authorization, the terminal display should show whether or not your transaction has been approved. The credit card issuer, the merchant, and the credit card processing network facilitate all other components of the transaction.
In the event that a store does not have contactless payment terminals, you usually have an additional payment option thanks to the EMV chip that is normally included with contactless cards.
Using a contactless credit or debit card for online transactions is as simple as using any other kind of card; you only need to input the credit card number, expiration date, and CVV number to complete the transaction.
How can I find out if my gadget or card supports contactless payments?
The majority of significant credit card companies are transitioning to contactless credit cards. The front or back of credit cards that support contactless payment technology bear a contactless payment symbol.
The emblem resembles a WiFi symbol that has been turned upside down. The symbol for contactless payments is similar, except it has a hand next to it at payment terminals that support it.
Is paying with a tap safer than with a swipe?
Since contactless payment technology makes it nearly hard to support some of the tactics used by thieves to hack into your card, it is generally regarded as the safest. For instance, in order for credit card skimmers put on payment terminals to obtain credit card information, the card must physically touch the device.
In addition, contactless technology encrypts credit card data through a procedure known as tokenization, which generates a special one-time code readable by payment processing networks.
The drawbacks of contactless payment cards
You can still use your contactless credit and debit cards in some locations even if contactless payment technology is becoming more widely used. You will need to swipe your card or enter it into the payment terminal in order for the transaction to be processed if the retailer does not have a contactless payment terminal.
Even with contactless credit cards, an EMV chip and a magnetic stripe are still commonly found.
Additionally, keep in mind that using contactless credit cards could be “too easy.” Until you find out about the theft and report the card as stolen, a thief can simply use your credit card for contactless payments without a PIN or signature if they manage to get their hands on it.
If I’m close to a system that accepts contactless payments, can I still make an unintentional purchase?
Visa states that for a transaction to be processed, you must hold a contactless card or mobile wallet two inches away from a contactless payment symbol on a payment terminal. Unintentional purchases are therefore improbable. To make sure you’re paying with the card you planned to use, tap the specific card rather than your entire wallet because contactless checkout terminals can only communicate with one card at a time.