Are contactless payment cards safe and secure?

3 min Read Published: 25 Mar 2015

Are contactless payment cards safe and secure?

Are contactless payments safe and secure?Using a contactless payment card is becoming a more popular method of paying for small transactions such as a cup of coffee or a bus journey. Despite this form of payment being offered by more organisations many consumers are still reluctant to embrace this new method due to perceived security issues.

So is there any need to worry about  the safety and security of contactless payment cards?

What are contactless payment cards?

  • Contactless payment cards allow the payment of small transactions without having to enter a PIN as authorisation, thus making transactions quicker
  • Just holding a contactless card over a contactless enabled terminal will authorise a transaction
  • Contactless payment cards were first issued in 2008 and since that time their usage has grown rapidly. In December 2014 46.1 million contactless payment transactions were made for a total of £380.8 million
  • There are well over 200,000  terminals in the UK where contactless payments can be made with an average transaction of £8.26
  • Currently the maximum individual transaction amount is £20 but this is to be increased to £30 in September 2015

Are there any security concerns with contactless payment cards?

  • The individual transaction maximum is currently set at £20 so if a card is lost or stolen then the amount of loss is limited
  • Thieves or fraudsters cannot get access to any cardholders information or accounts from the card and need the actual card to carry out transactions
  • After a series of transactions a user may be asked to enter a PIN to prevent stolen cards being used for any period of time
  • Reported cases of alleged fraud are very small and many of these could be down to terminal malfunction or incorrect usage

What actions can should I take to keep my contactless payment card safe and secure?

  • Always keep your card in a wallet and only use a single card when paying, keep other cards away from the terminal
  • Keep your wallet, purse or handbag away from contactless terminals to avoid accidental payments
  • If your card is lost or stolen report it to your bank immediately
  • Keep receipts of payments so you can check these against your bank statements to ensure there are no unknown transactions