Safe Contactless Payment

Increasingly common, increasing risks Get an IT Support quote

Is every contactless purchase a safe contactless payment?

Contactless cards have been around for a while now, but are we using them safely? Contactless cards use a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). This is a wireless chip inside the card which once placed on the reader, completes a specific action. So in this case, authorises the payment. Currently the limit for this is set to £30, however, mobile phones are also using contactless payments and don’t always have a limit as they are authorised with something like a code, fingerprint or face ID. Make sure you and your colleagues are using safe contactless payment.

The Risks…


As helpful and useful as contactless technology is, it is also useful to cybercriminals. One crime that is on the rise is criminals taking advantage of people not using something like a card sleeve to protect the chip from being read when the user hasn’t initiated. The criminal walks around with contactless card readers in busy public areas such as public transport and busy town centres where it is likely that you will be standing very close to people. They hold the card readers in subtle places and people’s cards pick up on the reader and transfer the users money to the criminal. Using a wireless technology always comes with it’s risks. NFC can be intercepted, meaning cybercriminals can read the information being wirelessly transmitted. If they do, they can access your financial information and clone this as well as your card. Therefore resulting in fraud. This information can also be corrupted and modified interfering with the payment and preventing the user from using their card. Cybercriminals can also maliciously wipe the chip rendering your card useless.

Other Common Issues

These are more issues rather than crimes but still should be prevented. One example is when people are purchasing something and someone else’s card may be in close proximity and accidentally purchase the item instead. This one is an accident rather than a crime, but still none the less, a risk to keep an eye on. A similar issue can happen when a user has two contactless cards and accidentally pays on the wrong card. Other common issues you may encounter with contactless payments include:
  • Phone battery running out
  • Phone or card becoming lost or stolen
  • Unable to pay abroad due to different systems
  • Financial information not being removed properly from a phone you are disposing of or selling

Take Action

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Things to watch out for

  • Unusual looking card readers
  • A card reader that appears to have been tampered with
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Protect yourself and your business

  • Use a safe contactless payment card protector. This could be a sleeve which goes over a card individually. Alternatively you can get card cases which protect numerous cards from being read
  • Keep your phone locked and regularly change the password/passcode
  • Take care to not loose or damage your phone or card
  • Make sure you have read the terms and conditions on who is liable when it comes to safe contactless payment and security breaches with your bank
  • Regularly check your bank statements so you can check all the payments and ensure you authorised all

Report it!

  • Call your bank immediately and inform them so they can disable your phone or prevent any more money from leaving your account
  • Phone us straight away on 0800 680 00 88 and report it to Action Fraud