Contactless Cards- Payment of the Future

Contactless Cards- Payment of the Future

Contactless cards are the future, get used to it, say banks despite unintended payments and fraud stories

If you do not yet have a contactless credit or debit card, you will be getting one soon – whether you want it or not. 

This controversial new payment method enables you to pay in shops just by holding the card to an electronic reader. 

But just as millions of cards are being distributed by banks, shoppers say they have been hit with phantom charges.

The same contactless technology in debit and credit cards is being adopted to enable payment by customers ‘swishing’ their mobiles.

Alex Bell, 27, of Brixton, South London, has a Barclaycard Visa ‘contactless pay tag’ – a sticker with a chip – put on the back of her mobile phone. It works in the same way as a contactless card. 

‘I have a cover on top of my phone so the sticker is safe and cannot fall off,’ she says.

Alex, an accountant, decided  to apply for the pay tag for her mobile after her previous Barclays chip and PIN debit card was stolen. 

The thief had watched her tap in her PIN while paying for a round of drinks in a pub and then he  stole her purse containing  the card. 

Fortunately Alex cancelled the card before he  had a chance to plunder her  bank account. 

Safety cap: The £20 transaction limit with the pay tag aims to deter thieves
Safety cap: The £20 ($32 AUD) transaction limit with the pay tag aims to deter thieves

‘What I like about the contactless pay tag is that there is a £20 ($32 AUD) limit on payments, so thieves cannot use it to go on a spending spree.’

For larger purchases, Alex sticks to traditional chip and PIN and always goes through her paper bills every month to check on  her payments.

So far these ‘payment stickers’ are available only to customers who ask for them.

But mobile payment devices  are growing. Orange (recently rebranded as EE) has teamed up with Barclaycard to offer Quick Tap, a service that allows instant payments to be made using technology installed in Samsung Galaxy S3 phones.
Customers put money into a stand-alone Barclaycard mobile account run like a pay-as-you-go service. It can be used for making payments at contactless points through a Quick Tap service. NatWest is testing a similar idea.

Smartphones offer other payment methods. One example is Pingit from Barclays. This allows customers to send money almost instantly by offering access to their own bank account using  a five-digit PIN.
If the recipient is signed up,  you just tap in their mobile  number – and any money is then automatically sent to their bank.

And online payments company iZettle offers a service where  a trader can have the bill texted to the shopper with a link for them to follow on their smartphone. 

This takes them to a secure  web page where, once they have put in their card details, payment can be made.

Robert Branch, 56, runs The Booking Hall Cafe on a former railway line just outside Rayne, Essex.
His wife, Sarah, 57, and their 23-year-old twins Grace and Jennifer also work at the cafe.

Robert uses iZettle and says: ‘It is a great solution for customers who are out on a cycle ride and realise they have not bought any cash. 

‘They will almost certainly have  a smartphone with them – and that’s how they can pay. Otherwise, it is two miles to a cash machine  in Braintree. 

‘It saves on the cost and hassle  of paying for a card terminal  and rental for a phone line that  we don’t want.’

Robert adds: ‘As new technology, it can take a bit of explaining –  and some customers are initially worried how safe it all is. 

‘But a promise of tea and cakes for those short of cash makes it easier for them to understand.’

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