Contactless Payments. Are They The Future?*What happened to cash? I rarely pay for anything with cash, maybe a taxi fare or a small cost item but the most use my cash has is to be the key to unlock a supermarket trolley. I carry a purse full of cards. Credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, my bus pass and subscription cards that gain me entrance to attractions. I never even had a credit card until I went on holiday to Florida many years ago. In America you just can't buy or do anything without one.
Have you ever wondered why your card has the numbers embossed and not just printed on? Before card readers there was a paper system, probably still used in some places. The card was put onto a machine and covered with a receipt that had two pages and carbon in between. The salesperson would pull the top of the machine over the card making a perfect copy, just like brass rubbing! Then you would sign it. They would check your signature against the one on the card and separate the pieces of paper. One piece for you, one for them. It seemed like a safe and easy way to pay even if you did end up with lots of receipts you could at least keep an eye on what you spent.
Then came the card reader. This was supposed to be safer and less open to fraud. Everyone had their own unique personal identification number, their PIN number. The PIN had to be entered every time the card was used. As long as only the cardholder knew the number then no-one could steal the money. But fraudsters found ways of either getting the number or cloning the card. Now we have contactless cards, the card doesn't need to go into a machine just tap onto it and Hey Presto! Just like magic the money is gone.
I have to admit that I have never used this feature on my card. I like to put it into a machine, tap my number, wait for it to connect to some other machine, wait...........then take my card. Why haven't I used contactless? Well where is the security? It all happens so fast can I be sure the amount is correct? What if someone has a reader and holds it against my bag can they just take money from me?
I did a little googling and discovered that all these fears are unfounded. That unlike cash my money is secure. If I lose my card then I can get my money back. That someone just standing close to me with a reader cannot steal my money, it needs to go through a proper registered account so even if they did mange to take my money the bank would know who took it. I can only spend up to £30 this way so no one is going to be able to take all my money in one swipe anyway. Occasionally I will be asked to enter my PIN as an added security measure.
My bus pass is contactless and I use that without problems so I will use my card now I understand it better.
Contactless Payments. Are They The Future? I think they are but by the time I have caught up there will be another easier way to pay. Maybe I will just have to stare hard into a machine?
If you would like to find out more about cashless or contactless payments check out UK Credit's Money Life blog.
*Disclosure -This is a collaborative post