Contactless payment has become the norm and is predicted to rise further in 2020 as the card industry has committed to increase the number of locations where consumers can use contactless payment. 2/3 of UK adults now use contactless payments, over 7.4 billion payments being made yearly, according to UK Finance, 2019 and it is often the preferred method of payment and can often be cheaper than Oyster cards when travelling on Transport for London (TfL).
Are Contactless cards safe?
A £30 safeguarding spending limit and restricted number of contactless transactions you can make before a pin is requested, helps make contactless cards safe but you could still see a couple of hundred come out of your account if a thief were to pinch your card.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, social distancing and staying at home is now essential. In a bid to limit physical contact, the contactless spending limit will increase to £45 in April, this will help stop the spread of the virus which is important but also could present the issue of increased levels of fraud within stores.
How to stay safe with a contactless card
With the £45 limit and chip and pin activated after a certain amount of transactions, skimming is still a risk.
Skimming is when someone uses a reader to steal key card details from your contactless card but in order for this to be successful they would have to be painfully close to you and your card in order to pick up the details.
Thankfully the risks of skimming are low so RFID protection isn’t a necessity but It is recommended that you do the following:
- Keep your purses and wallets in secure places. Back pockets and coat pockets is a playground in busy crowds, therefore it is recommenced you put them in inside coat pockets and bags with zips. It is reported that busy cities such as Barcelona have high levels of pickpocketing so you should always be alert.
- Check your bank statements. An easy way to stay on top of what you have been purchasing as well as monitoring suspicious behaviour is by downloading your banks app or by visiting their online banking webpage. Such as visiting the Natwest online banking webpage on a regular basis is strongly recommended. Ensure you set up 2FA when you do this as that is essential.
- Set up push notifications. online banking makes this easy and with cards such a Monzo you can enable instant push notifications stating payments have been made. This way you’d know instantly if you card had been used by someone else.
- Ask for receipts. Keep on top of what you are spending when you are out and about by keeping your receipts safe.
- Never hand over your card. When your card is out of sight it gives criminals the chance to steal your card details and run your card through a skimming device, so ensure when you’re paying for anything ensure you are the one holding your card.
- Try to keep your cards in secure wallets and purses and not in open bags and back pockets as there is the chance that a skimming device could steal your card details and then commit fraud by making online purchases with your card.
Is opting out of a contactless card an option?
If a contactless card isn’t for you, ask your provider if you can opt-out. Many providers do give you the option to opt out of having a contactless card so be sure to ask if you want that peace of mind.