Mythbusting - Contactless cards explained

28 August 2013 / Published in Tech & Innovation

Updated 9 July 2014

We’ve collected your most-asked questions about contactless cards to help shed light on a few things.

MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave are contactless payment features included on selected ASB credit and debit cards. This feature lets you to pay for transactions under $200 by simply tapping your card on the contactless reader at participating merchants. You’ll save time by not having to enter your PIN, or sign, and it only takes seconds for the transaction to go through.

There are now over 13,500 contactless terminals in New Zealand at major retailers including Countdown, Farmers, Kmart, The Warehouse, Z Energy, JB Hi-Fi and Event Cinemas. In June 2013 there were over 200,000 contactless transactions and usage is growing each month.

How safe is it really?

Contactless cards are safe, and use advanced cryptographic security. Every transaction includes a unique dynamic code which changes every time it’s used. The account information contained in a contactless card is just the same as the information found on a traditional chip card and has the  same level of security protection and fraud prevention.

The card can only be read within approximately 4cm of a reader, so always make sure you take your card out of your wallet before you get to the terminal and hold it on the reader until the transaction is complete.

What if I accidentally pay twice?

As we have mentioned, your contactless card has to be held very close (4cm) to the terminal reader for it to pay, and the merchant has to ‘request’ a debit for the terminal to start to complete a transaction. If a transaction happened on a card via contactless instead of inserting the chip or swiping it the terminal will give the merchant an ACCEPTED response and they’d give you a receipt. It would be very hard to accidentally pay twice. If you do accidentally pay twice you can contact the merchant for a refund on the duplicate transaction.

What happens if I lose my card? Someone can go on an $200 spending spree!

Firstly, there is no cardholder liability on fraudulent transactions, meaning as long as you have taken reasonable care with your card, as per the Terms & Conditions of your card, then the transactions will be reversed by us.

Compare that to cash, where if you drop $100 at the service station, your $100 is gone. With contactless payments, ASB can reverse transactions made fraudulently.

We have sophisticated fraud tools across our systems that seek to identify fraudulent behaviour and will block transactions. For example, after a certain number of contactless transactions, even under $200, a PIN will be asked for. If you do lose your card, let us know right away and we can block fraudulent transactions from taking place.

The actual fraudulent risk on credit cards is a situation where a customer loses their card or someone hacks into a system to capture cardholder details, then fraudsters go online to make purchases - often for a lot more than $200. Again, we have fraud tools looking out for these types of transactions and still with no customer or cardholder liability

I’ve heard that someone can scan my pocket and get my credit card details, is this true?

Contactless data does not include the standard card verification value (CVV) encoded on the magnetic strip or the 3 digit code printed on the back of your card. If someone is undertaking fraudulent activity using a scanner, the data should not be sufficient enough to create a counterfeit card, or create another transaction.

Can I opt out of having this technology on my card?

All new ASB MasterCard and Visa products (including Visa Debit cards) have contactless technology. For Visa cards, you can turn off Visa payWave transactions using ASB Card Control. For MasterCard cards, PayPass is a permanent feature of new cards and can’t be switched off, however you can insert your card just like you’ve done in the past if you don’t want to make a purchase using contactless payment.

Can I choose which account to use?

If you’ve linked your credit card with your cheque and/or savings accounts the default is to charge your credit account when making contactless payments. Since contactless payments systems are issued by MasterCard and Visa your credit account will remain the default account for these purchases and this can’t be changed. Remember credit cards have a 55 day interest free period, so as long as you pay off the full card amount no interest will be incurred on any contactless payment purchases throughout the month.

To use contactless payments with your cheque or savings account you’ll need to use a Visa Debit card.


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