What are contactless payments?

What are contactless payments?

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Arriving in the UK over ten years ago, contactless payments allow us to pay for things using a card without needing to use a PIN.

What is a contactless payment?

Contactless payments are secure methods of payment that let people pay for things without needing to enter a PIN. Contactless payments can be made using several different types of device, but most commonly they are made using a credit or debit card with contactless capabilities.

What is a contactless payment?

Contactless payments are secure methods of payment that let people pay for things without needing to enter a PIN. Contactless payments can be made using several different types of device, but most commonly they are made using a credit or debit card with contactless capabilities.

How to pay using contactless

To make a contactless payment, simply hold your card next to the contactless symbol wherever you’re making the payment. Most of the time this will be on a card reader, but you might also see it on ticket machines at train stations and other forms of public transport.

You will generally need to hold the card in place for a few seconds to make sure the transaction has gone through, and often you’ll know it has worked when you see a series of green lights appear or hear a beeping sound.

What is the limit on contactless payments?

The limit for contactless payments in the UK to £45, although not all shops have introduced this yet, so some may still have the old limit of £30. If you’re unsure of what the limit is in a particular shop, ask one of the members of staff before making your purchase.

Do I need to set up contactless payments?

In most cases, no. New debit and credit cards come with contactless, so there’s nothing for you to set up once your card arrives. All thinkmoney cards can be used for contactless payments up to £45 in the UK.

How long do contactless payments take to process?

Contactless payments will usually be processed instantly, and you will be able to see a record of the transaction in your account as soon as it’s been made. Some purchases may take a few days to come through (e.g. Transport For London contactless payments - find out more about them here), but usually it’ll be processed right away.

How many contactless purchases can I make in a day?

There is no limit on the number of contactless purchases you can make in a day. However, from time to time, you might be asked to enter your card’s PIN as a security measure. These measures are in place to make sure your card hasn’t been stolen.

How do contactless payments work?

Contactless cards contain a chip that holds encrypted information related to your account. When held near to the electromagnetic signal emitted by a card reader, the card “turns on” and starts up an encoded data transfer (i.e. the payment). The card will only do this if it recognises the reader, meaning payments can’t be requested at random.

Are contactless payments safe?

Yes, absolutely. Contactless payments use the same type of security as a regular chip and PIN payments, so it’s just as safe as the older method of using your card to pay.

Although people were cautious when contactless came in, time and experience have shown them to be perfectly safe. Urban legends have been spread around that people can use card readers to steal from your card, but it has been explained that a person would need to register the card reader to a business account for this to work.

Additionally, we are sometimes asked if you can pay for something accidentally by holding your contactless card near to a card reader. In reality, you need to hold your card between 2-4 centimetres from a card reader for a transaction to go through, so the likelihood of doing this by accident is quite low. What’s more, card readers can’t process multiple purchases at once, so if you accidentally hold two cards up to a reader when making a payment, you won’t be charged twice.

The benefits of going contactless

There are several benefits to starting to use contactless as opposed to using chip and PIN or cash:

  • A faster way to pay - Contactless is much quicker, which is especially helpful when you’re pushed for time.
  • Contactless is cleaner – Cash is covered in bacteria, so going contactless can help reduce the spread of disease and viruses.
  • Increased security - Contactless systems encrypt your data so the chance of fraud is reduced even further.