I saw this article in the paper today “Contactless cards allow thieves to carry on stealing” and it got be thinking back to the first time I heard about these cards. For those of you who don’t know about contactless (they haven’t been rolled out to all banks yet) the article sums it up nicely:
Contactless cards allow shoppers to make purchases of up to £30 by swiping or tapping their cards on a reader at shop checkouts, buses or train stations without entering a PIN.
To speed up the process, lower value purchases of up to about £15 are approved offline at many retailers without the contactless terminal ever connecting to the customer’s bank. Every few days the machine goes back online to report these transactions in bulk.
I’m not a massive fan of internet banking or mobile banking because I’ve read too many stories of hacking, security on the sites and apps going wrong or not being kept up to date, amongst other things. But these functions are an opt-in.
When contactless cards were introduced, there was no opt-in or opt-out option …. but there should be.
If ever in the situation where your card is stolen, a person could still be racking up charges on your account due to the contactless limit. An individual could be using your contactless pay and spending up to £30 in each transaction without needing the PIN.
Now, even if you caught on quickly and cancelled your card; the contactless side of the card is not stopped immediately as any transaction under £15 is automatically authorised without being checked with the bank. These charges are then bulk checked every few hours but only after the money has already left your account.
For me, this is wrong. There should be an opt-out option. Its your funds and your account security. Thus, whether you have contactless or not should be your decision and your choice on how you would like to pay for purchases.