Contactless Payment Safety: Replies to Frequently-Asked Questions

A growing number of banks are issuing contactless chip cards that, rather than being swiped through a card reader, communicate with the card reader through near field communication (NFC) technology. But many merchants (and customers ) are worried about if contactless payments are protected. Assessing the answers to those four frequently asked questions (FAQs) about contactless payment protection can help you to better understand the problem — and permit you to accurately respond to any customer questions relating to it.

Contactless Payment Security FAQ #1: Are contactless payments secure?

Response: The microprocessor chip embedded in conventional and contactless chip cards creates a cryptogram, which is a brief bit of encoded text which masks and, therefore, protects payment info. The chip also produces a difficult-to-forge digital signature once the transaction is implemented at the point of sale (POS). Criminals that may find a way to steal the encoded data can’t identify youpersonally, and they can’t decrypt or use your payment card information. They also can’t produce fraudulent cards. The microprocessor chip is nearly impossible for offenders to duplicate.


For additional security, issuers verify that each and every contactless transaction has a legitimate card verification value, authentication code, or cryptogram before authorizing it so they can automatically detect and reject any attempt to reuse transaction details. Additionally, he cardholder’s name isn’t required for payment processing and is generally not within the processor, and the card never has to leave the cardholder’s hand throughout the transaction.

Contactless Payment Security FAQ #2: What can be done to protect a contactless payment card?

Response: A contactless payment card or key fob should not be left unattended. Consumers should take the same precautions they would with any other kind of payment card.

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If a customer believes their card was placed at risk, they ought to contact the issuing bank. Liability policies which protect consumers who hold conventional debit and credit cards also apply to people with contactless cards. These policies exempt consumers from responsibility for losses because of card theft or loss, providing the issuing bank is advised immediately.

Contactless Payment Security FAQ#3: Can a contactless payment card be read without a customer’s knowledge?

Response: This is improbable. Contactless payment cards, in addition to the terminals and network, are designed so the customer initiates the transaction by holding the contactless payment device (card or key fob) within two to four inches of the payment terminal. But should someone successfully browse the data out of a contactless payment card, the safety features designed into the apparatus, the payment terminal, and the payment system would prevent the data being used for fraudulent purposes.

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Contactless Payment Security FAQ #4: What happens when a contactless payment card is stolen or lost? Doesn’t that undermine its safety?

Response: In such a circumstance, contactless payment protection remains very significant. For starters, banks impose a limitation on the amount or value of contactless payment transactions a cardholder can make before being asked to confirm their identity.

What is more, to increase safety, banks regularly use data analytics to identify unusual transaction patterns which may indicate a contactless card has been used by a person who is not the cardholder. If it turns out that this is true, the card is immediately invalidated, and a replacement is issued.

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Now that you learn more about contactless payment protection, you can be certain when implementing contactless payment-compatible POS equipment that you are not undermining the integrity of customers’ payment information. You can also be sure you’re sharing the proper info to reinforce customers’ confidence in the safety of the information and payments, which is a cornerstone of a fantastic customer/merchant relationship.

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