A selection of contactless cards

Contactless Payments: How to Stay Safe

The UK definitely wasn’t the main frontrunner when it came to welcoming contactless payments to our range of payment methods. This was said to be chiefly because of worries in regard to the safety of the paying via contactless, as opposed to the regular and well-recognised PIN system. Given that contactless is still in its infancy in the grand scheme of things, there was always going to be issues with contactless payment fraud being one of them. However, there are plenty of ways to keep your money safe when using contactless.

Learn more about one of the most-modern payment methods and how to stay safe…

What the FFA Say

A contactless payment works via a ‘tapping and paying’, which means all you have to do is tap your card (most up to date cards have this function) down on the reader that most of the best POS software for small business offer these days and pay for your items, up to £30 at a time, without entering your PIN number.

There are still lingering concerns as far as the payment method is concerned, but the Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA) are certain that it is perfectly safe. The FFA have stated that fraud on contactless cards and devices makes up a mere 1.1% of overall card fraud, and the larger problems revolve around the theft of cards and PINs.

Are There Security Weaknesses?

A notable security loophole that the contactless system had was exposed to fraud was exposed earlier in 2017. The weakness lies in whether a contactless payment is processed online or offline by a business. Once payments are processed online, the card machine instantly contacts the customer’s bank to check there is enough money available for the payment, and if the card has been cancelled, it will be flagged up straight away.

On the other hand, if the payment is an offline transaction, the card machine stores it to be done later when it’s online again. This is the point at which criminals make use of the loophole and commit fraud by using stolen cards, long after they have been cancelled. Furthermore, there are some banks who won’t always inform customers when their cancelled card has been used, and also don’t look into whether it was the customer who made the payment. This policy shifts the onus onto the customer to spot for any fraudulent payments on their card.

However, as you might expect, experts have confirmed that measures are in place to close the security loophole, with businesses working to fix the issue.

How You Can Stay Safe

If you’re concerned about contactless payments, we’ve gathered a few tips on staying safe to help put your mind at rest a little more:

  • Having a foil-lined wallet is effective at preventing the card from being read by card readers.
  • Never hand over your card. It is a given that your card should stay with you, and this is good to look out for at bars and restaurants where the servers will often reach for your card and tap it themselves.
  • Check your statements, and be regular with the checking. This way you are more likely to spot any suspicious transactions. You could also implement weekly updates on your account which are sent directly to your phone.

What You Should do if You’re a Victim of Fraud

If you find that you’ve lost your card, or it’s been stolen, you should contact your bank immediately to report it and have it cancelled. Afterwards, monitor your transactions daily to keep track of any contactless payments and report them to the bank too. Your bank should refund you the money, and card issuers limit the number of contactless transactions that can be made in a day before a PIN is asked for.

Hopefully, this gives you enough information as far as using contactless payments are concerned, as well as how to stay protected too.