contactless-payments

Contactless payments are safer than you think

A guide to why features like PayPass and payWave can be safer than your traditional debit cards.

Many transactions can be paid with a contactless swipe of your credit or debit card. It’s certainly easier than putting in your PIN every time you buy something, but is it safe?

This is probably one of the most common questions asked when it comes to this technology. Fortunately, Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass have several precautions in place to help keep your bank information and money safe.

Is my card protected?

For every transaction you make, your card generates a unique code that prevents you from being billed twice. Even if you accidentally tapped your card twice, you will not be billed. The card has to be four centimetres away from the reader so you can’t pay for other people’s transactions. Visa and MasterCard both have encryption technology that protects your data and money from theft and fraud. You don’t have to hand your card to the retailer making it easier to avoid fraudulent activity.

Visa Zero Liability

For those using the Visa payWave system, you are covered by Visa’s Zero Liability policy. The policy states that "you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges or unauthorised purchases made with your card or account information". If you do find fraudulent transactions on your debit card statement, Visa requires that your bank refunds the transactions within 5 days of letting them know.

MasterCard Zero Liability

Your MasterCard is protected under its liability policy. You are covered by this policy if you meet the following 5 conditions:

  • You have proved due diligence in safeguarding your card from risk of loss, theft or unauthorised use.
  • You immediately notify your card issuer or bank when you've found the fraudulent transaction
  • In the last year, you haven't reported two or more cases of fraudulent transactions
  • Your bank account is in good standing (so no negative balance)
  • You have followed the terms and conditions of using the debit card
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Can the card be read through clothes and wallets?

Many people have claimed they can “download” people’s banking information by using data reading equipment. Kristin Paget demonstrated this at the Schmoocon hacker conference. Paget showed the audience she could obtain any credit card number with a Vivotech RFID credit card reader.

However, now the new cards have come out and have certain features that prevent this type of fraud. The cardholder’s name, PIN and card verification value (CVV) number are unable to be read by credit card readers. These new cards also have a one time only CVV code with every scan which means the code can only be used for one transaction. If the code is used more than once, your card will be cancelled.

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What are the pros and cons of using PayPass and payWave?

Pros

  • Convenient as you just need to “tap and pay” using your credit card or mobile phone without using a PIN or signing a receipt.
  • Usually linked to cash back offers.
  • Gives you peace of mind as you’re protected against fraud.
  • Reduces threat of hackers who may scan cards and steal valuable information (encryption technology).
  • Retailers no longer have access to your credit card information.

Cons

  • There is a risk of spyware or malware attacks and other viruses like any other computer device in the terminal.
  • You can’t change the limit or choose the limit per transaction as chosen by the bank.
  • You may lose your credit card and your account information may be compromised.
  • Only a few users have adapted to this technology so it might create confusion or frustration among users. Not all consumers are educated on this technology.

Compare PayPass and payWave debit cards below

Rates last updated December 11th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
St.George Complete Freedom Account
10% Cash back for online gaming purchases.
Waived account keeping fees when minimum deposit is met with no minimum balance.
Visa $0 $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
Bank of Melbourne Complete Freedom
Get Cardless cash and shop securely with your Visa debit card. Customise SMS and email alerts.
Visa $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, St.George or Westpac ATMs. No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2000 into this account each month. Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Earn a $100 shopping voucher.
For opening a new account by 18 Dec 2016 and shop three times with your new Visa debit card by 8 Jan 2017 (conditions apply).
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly account fee when you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Other fee waivers available based on your personal situation. Open More
Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
Get Cardless Cash and PAYG branch and cheque services.
Visa $0 $1,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. No monthly fees if you deposit $1000 into your account each month. Open More
BankSA Express Freedom Account
Get Cardless Cash, free SMS and email alerts.
Visa $0 $1,000 Avoid ATM fees when using BankSA, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs. Avoid the monthly fee if you deposit $1000 into this account each month. Open More
BankSA Complete Freedom Account
Open one in less than 5 minutes with Cardless Cash available.
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly account keeping fees when you deposit at least $2,000 in the account each month. Free access to BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Open More
Bank of Queensland Day2Day Plus Account
An everyday transaction account with a linked Visa debit card.
Visa $0 $0 No monthly account fee and free access to over 3,000 rediATMs nationwide. More
Rates last updated December 11th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Westpac Choice
$0 ATM withdrawal fee at 50,000+ ATMs globally.
Via Westpac's Global ATM Alliance. Get Cash without your debit card (conditions apply).
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More
ME EveryDay Transaction Account
Free access to any ATM in Australia.
Get your ATM fee refunded within 30 days with $0 monthly fees.
Mastercard $0 $0 No fees when using any ATM in Australia – you'll get a refund within 30 days for any fees you pay for an ATM. More
Bankwest Easy Transaction Account
Pay no ATM fees at over 10,000 ATMs in Australia (conditions apply).
Mastercard $0 $2,000 Minimum deposit of $2,000 per month needed to waive the monthly account fee otherwise $6 monthly fee applies. No ATM fee applicable at Bankwest, CBA, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St.George, BoM and BankSA ATMs in Australia. Open More
Commonwealth Bank Smart Access
Get unlimited CBA electronic transactions using internet banking, phone banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 Unlimited free CBA ATM transactions. No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $2,000 per month otherwise $4 monthly fee applies. More
Rates last updated December 11th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
St.George Complete Freedom Account
10% Cash back for online gaming purchases.
Waived account keeping fees when minimum deposit is met with no minimum balance.
Visa $0 $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Earn a $100 shopping voucher.
For opening a new account by 18 Dec 2016 and shop three times with your new Visa debit card by 8 Jan 2017 (conditions apply).
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly account fee when you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Other fee waivers available based on your personal situation. Open More

Tap and go cards are no less risky than the standard contact cards with PINs and signatures. No matter what type of card you have, there is always going to be some sort of risk of loss or theft involved.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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