If you are a regular consumer of credit, debit or prepaid cards, when reading their features you will be asked at least once what Contactless Technology is and how it works.
As the word indicates, contactless is a card that uses cutting-edge technology that allows contactless payments. In this post we will explain in detail what it is and how to use this useful feature.
What is a Contactless card?
Contactless credit and debit cards were introduced for the first time in the UK by Barclaycard, in 2007. This innovation in the field of electronic payments has experienced exponential growth, to the point that today one card in three uses this technology.
But let’s see more in detail what a contactless card is and what kind of technology it uses.
As already mentioned, contactless cards use NFC (near field communications) wireless technology, which allows payments to be made simply by bringing the card close to a POS terminal.
This type of card features a chip and a radio frequency antenna (RFID) that allows instantaneous transmission of data between devices that are only a few centimeters away.
In this way, when making a contactless card payment in a shop equipped with a POS terminal, a communication channel is created which receives and sends the information necessary to authorize the payment.
This means that, to pay, you only must to bring the card close to the terminal, without having to insert in it and type the pin.
How does contactless payment work?
As you have just seen, when you make a purchase, paying with a contactless card is quick and easy.
Once you go to the cash desk of a store, the cashier will type in the amount to be paid and all you have to do is bring your contactless card closer to the terminal, a few inches away and, in a few seconds, if the payment will be successful, the transaction will be confirmed and accepted.
Nowadays this type of payment can be made not only with card, but also with other types of digital devices: smartphones, watches, bracelets or keyrings equipped with contactless technology.
The operation is exactly the same as a contactless card: just bring the device closer to a POS terminal compatible with NFC technology and wait for confirmation of the payment.
You will be able to recognize contactless devices from the logo, which consists of four lines that form the symbol of a wave.
Just remember that in each country, (depending on the financial institution that issues the card), contactless payments without PIN can be made for purchases not exceeding a certain amount.
For example, for many types of contactless cards in Europe, if the purchase is less than 20 euros, it will be possible to pay by tap the card without having to enter the pin.
In case of purchases exceeding this amount, when paying, you will be asked to enter the PIN and, once the transaction is confirmed, the receipt of the payment will be printed automatically.
Contactless payments are expanding rapidly around the world and most of the cards issued, around 80%, have integrated this type of technology.
Thanks to this massive adoption, it is possible to use it in most commercial activities such as restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies etc.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of contactless payment?
Payments made with Contactless Cards are considered one of the best alternatives to traditional cash payments, as well as to the use of cards that require the use of a chip and a pin.
Being able to pay instantly, without having to insert the card in the terminal and having to type, every time you pay, a pin, is a great advantage, taking into account the speed of payment and the guarantee of privacy, not having to be careful to hide the pin, every time you type it.
However, this type of payment also has some disadvantages, since, in the event of theft, any person can use it to make payments that do not exceed a certain amount, without the risk of being asked to enter the pin or to prove his identity.
If this happens, don’t forget to immediately contact the entity or bank that issued your card and request its immediate block.