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 concerning 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
Back to top

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.

Back to top

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 June 23rd, 2017
$
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 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
NAB Classic Banking
$0 monthly account fees.
Tap and pay with your NAB Visa Debit card, NAB Pay for Android or NAB PayTag for iPhone.
Visa $0 $0 $0 account keeping fees with no deposit conditions. Unlimited free withdrawals at NAB and rediATMs. Go to site 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 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
ANZ Access Advantage
Apple Pay, Android Pay & ANZ Mobile Pay.
Take advantage of Apple Pay by linking your ANZ Visa Debit card to an eligible iPhone and seamlessly pay for purchases with your phone.
Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at ANZ ATMs. Go to site More
Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
Get Cardless Cash and PAYG branch and cheque services.
Visa $0 $1,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $1,000 per month. Otherwise, a $3 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Go to site More
BankSA Express Freedom Account
Get Cardless Cash, free SMS and email alerts.
Visa $0 $1,000 $0 account keeping fees when you deposit at least $1,000 into your account each month. Otherwise, a $3 monthly fee applies. Unlimited Free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs. Go to site More
BankSA Complete Freedom Account
Cardless Cash available. Open one in less than 3 minutes.
Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Go to site More
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Your Visa debit card unlocks special privileges worldwide with the HSBC home&Away Privilege Program.
Visa $0 $0 $0 account keeping fees. Unlimited free withdrawals at over 3,000 HSBC, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site 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 June 23rd, 2017
$
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 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
Commonwealth Bank Smart Access
Get unlimited CBA electronic transactions using internet banking, phone banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $4 fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at CBA ATMs. 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
Get up to $50 cash back per month for new customers (conditions apply).
Click on "More" to see full conditions.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $6 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at CommBank, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
Rates last updated June 23rd, 2017
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Bankwest Easy Transaction Account
2% cash back (up to $50 cash back per month until 31 August) on tap & go purchases (minimum of five payments, other conditions apply)
Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $6 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at CommBank, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
St.George Complete Freedom Student Account
10% cash back on online gaming purchases until 30 September limited to a spend of $200 (other conditions apply)
Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fee for students. Unlimited Free withdrawals at St.George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and Westpac ATMs. Go to site More
St.George Complete Freedom Account
10% cash back on online gaming purchases until 30 September limited to a spend of $200 (other conditions apply)
Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Go to site 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 has completed 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.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

More help from finder.com.au

Savings Account Offers

Learn about our information service
ME Online Savings Account

Maximum Variable Rate

3.05

Standard Variable Rate

1.30
Bankwest Hero Saver

Maximum Variable Rate

2.65

Standard Variable Rate

0.01
ANZ Progress Saver

Maximum Variable Rate

1.81

Standard Variable Rate

0.01

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback