The perils of Contactless Payment: How to keep your financial Profile safe

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Financial Advice

Perhaps the main consumer trend of recent times, the rise of contactless payments has had a huge impact on businesses around the world. In fact, whenever you read an article detailing contactless payments, it is usually focused on the need of business-owners to adapt their business models.

There is ample reason for this too, with the amount spent through contactless payments having more than trebled as long as 2014. What is strange is the lack of advice for consumers, however, as this is a relatively flexible and advanced payment methods that carries at least some security risks.

3 Steps to maintaining financial safety when using contactless

With this in mind, it is important that you are vigilant and showcase common sense as a consumer when accessing contactless payments. Consider the following steps towards achieving this: –

Embrace Apple or Android Pay and minimise your risk

Contactless can take several guises, from debit cards to the recently released Apple and Android Pay. In order to reduce your risk, however, you may be better served by using one of these devices to reduce the risk of loss or theft and enhance your security.

Our vote would go for using Apple or Android Pay, as these services can be encrypted on your smartphone using a six-digit pin or a modern form of physical verification. Apple’s new iPhone 6s range includes fingerprint encryption for the user, making it impossible for anyone other than the user to access the device.

Cards cannot be protected in the same way, so consider managing your payments through a single, secure platform.

Beware of Contactless Fraud

As with any type of new payment method, contactless has quickly been targeted by thieves and fraudsters with malevolent plans. They have been enabled in this case by NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, through which scammers can use point-of-sale devices to scan your debit card and complete any transaction under £30. It is therefore crucial that you understand exactly how contactless works and stay in touch with fraudulent practices, while also ensuring that you keep you card tucked away and not loose in any of your pockets.

Check statements and receipts for Double Payments

The same technology can also cause issues in terms of double payments, as commuters in London have found to their detriment. The issue is caused when contactless cards are kept in the same pocket as an Oyster Card, as even when consumers pay with the latter the transaction can be overridden by the former. Given that the Oyster Card will have already been credited, this could lead to a scenario where travellers are charged twice for the same journey.

While these should be quickly refunded, you can look to avoid the issue by keeping these cards separate at all times.

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