Have you used a contactless payment system yet? It took a long time to gather momentum in the UK, but has now started looking like a realistic way to make micro-payments without needing all that change filling your pocket.
My own bank card operates with a limit of £20 for these contactless payments. The security restriction is there because no password or PIN is required to make these payments – you just wave your card near the payment terminal.
I have been buying coffee and bus tickets like this for some time, but I have also been thinking about the security issues these cards present. If I do lose my wallet and don’t report my card missing then if someone spends £100 on various small transactions in a day then that is still quite a lot to lose – and does not require any PIN hacking or other criminality.
At present it seems that the banks are prepared to support customers by guaranteeing that fraud will be refunded, but as we go further down this path there will be a point where the banks insist that you treat your card as if it were cash. If you lost a £50 note from your wallet then it would seem ridiculous to call the bank and ask them to give you a replacement note – and I expect this is where we will be going with contactless eventually.
However, for it to become even more popular customers will need to feel that the technology is secure. At present the tipping point is not entirely clear, but there is certainly a steady increase in popularity for these technologies. It’s an area worth watching over the next year or so.
Have you used a contactless card? Do you find it useful or have you been concerned about security issues? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @simondillsworth.
Photo by Amit Gupta licensed under Creative Commons