Contactless card payments: Are you for or against tap and pay?

With 4 in 10 card transactions in 2016 happening either online or using a contactless card – according to the UK Cards Association – it’s pretty safe to say that contactless card payments are becoming part of the ‘norm’[1]. However, just because something is a feature of your everyday life, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a fan of it. That’s why we’re asking the question ‘are you for or against tap and pay?’

In favour of contactless

There are currently around 108.4 million contactless cards in the UK, according to figures from April 2017[2]. In fact, in that month, £3,913.3 million was spent using contactless cards, equating to 416.3 million transactions.

The main draw of contactless for many people is how quick and easy it is to pay – as long as what you’re buying is under £30. A simple tap and you’re done.

Contactless cards have also been touted as being more secure, because you don’t have to enter a PIN that others may see and potentially use to make large-scale purchases on your card. Yes, someone could theoretically steal it and use it to buy goods up to the cost of the contactless card limit, but they wouldn’t be able to use it to buy a car, for example.

Another benefit if you live in or are visiting London is that you can use it for ‘pay as you go’ on Transport for London.

Against contactless

Anyone who uses contactless cards will tell you that arguably one of the main drawbacks is that it can be a bit too easy to pay; namely when you’re having a few at the pub. Consequently, you might find that when you check your bank balance the next day, you’ve spent more than you should have.

Those against contactless also question how safe it is. While contactless payment fraud is relatively rare, it does happen. Figures from Financial Fraud Action UK revealed that 2016, £6.9 million was lost to contactless card fraud[3]. However, this is compared to a spend of £25.2 billion, equalling 2.7p in every £100 spent using contactless technology.

What does this mean in the context of overall card fraud? Well, contactless cards only contribute to 1% of all card fraud.

Are contactless cards here to stay?

With contactless rising in popularity and changing the way we shop, it seems like contactless cards aren’t just a fad. If you’re not a fan, this might not feel like good news but, as with any technology, the trick to making the best of it is to know how to keep yourself safe.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and store your card in a safe place
  • Check your bank statements so you spot any suspicious transactions quickly – remember, they’ll be for small amounts
  • If your card gets lost or stolen, always report it immediately

If you follow these tips, you may find that you suddenly start to love contactless card payments.