Published On: June 8, 2017

With the evolution of POS terminals accepting payments via contactless technology, Canadian customers are now accustomed to instantaneous transactions and no longer entering their PIN code. The market has rapidly adopted contactless payment because it’s simple and it saves consumers valuable time at the checkout terminal. For business owners, it boosts efficiency in moving the queue. To enable the rise of the contactless card payment infrastructure, Visa introduced payWave technology, MasterCard patented Tap & Go, and Interac developed the popular Flash, all of which have seen surging growth that is only expected to continue. However, one drawback to the convenience of waving your card is the new potential for fraud. Contactless has opened up new avenues for criminals to discover ways to counterfeit and take advantage of the tapping method, with purchases that circumvent the need for a PIN. Fortunately there are ways to protect your contactless card when making purchases. In this article, MONEXgroup teaches you how to protect your contactless card and we offer other helpful tips for payment security.

What is a Contactless Card?

Contactless cards use radio frequency RFID technology to transmit the cardholder’s account information to a POS terminal. By holding the contactless card just one to two inches away from the terminal, consumers can efficiently pay for their merchandise and be on their way.

Contactless card technology has been available in North America since 2005, but wasn’t until 2013 where it became more popular with merchants. There are several reasons why contactless cards weren’t utilized until then. First of all, stores didn’t have the right terminals to accept the contactless feature of the cards. Second of all, banks and credit card companies had not issued enough contactless cards to consumers. Lastly, the time saved by tapping a card against a POS machine instead of inserting their card into the reader was minimal on earlier versions of the POS technology, so merchants initially didn’t bother installing POS terminals that were capable for Tap (What is a Contactless Card). Today, these hurdles have all been addressed and contactless payments will only become more prevalent.

How safe are Contactless Cards?

According to the Smart Card Alliance Payments Council, the industry association states that contactless chipped cards are very secure. For instance, even if the customer taps their card twice, they will only be charged once, because encryption technology protects your card.

The New York Times contends contactless cards are significantly more secure than magnetic strip cards, and card issuers such as Visa and MasterCard say cardholders are protected against contactless payment fraud the same way as magnetic strip. Some issuers are able to identify which transactions were contactless based on the customer’s card statements, which may help in detecting fraudulent transactions.

Nevertheless, several reports have revealed security flaws with contactless cards. For example, two U.K. reporters found that in some extreme situations someone with a contactless card can have his/her credit card information read if there’s a NFC reader nearby. Therefore, consumers are encouraged to buy a wallet that blocks NFC technology, place multiple cards together in their wallet, or even insert a small piece of aluminum foil near the cards in a wallet to prevent thieves from stealing their card information.

How to Protect your Contactless Card

There are several habits and strategies that consumers can adopt to protect their contactless card from potential fraud. Experts suggest the following ways to protect your contactless card:

  1. Place your contactless cards next to each other in your wallet since this makes it difficult for thieves to read an individual card
  2. Carry your cards in your front pocket. Most people like to carry their wallets in their back pockets but when you carry them in your front pocket, you will be more aware of what’s going on in front of you and be more careful
  3. Some of the newest NFC technology limits the opportunity of thieves to scan your cards at short distances and only at the time of the sale. Consequently, check your surroundings before you make purchase to ensure nobody’s around you
  4. RFID-blocking wallets are available which effectively block the penetration of NFC technology
  5. Monitor your credit card statements for unusual activity or errors. This may not prevent thieves from stealing information, but monitoring your statements regularly will help you and the credit card company identify any unauthorized purchases and can limit your potential losses
  6. If you have an NFC-equipped phone, make sure it is always locked when not in use by means of a PIN, which you should change regularly
  7. Take extra care not to lose or misplace your NFC-equipped phone
  8. Make sure you read and understand your bank’s terms and conditions so you are clear who holds liability in the event of an incorrect payment or security breach

How to Protect and Support your Customers’ Contactless Cards with MONEXgroup

Partnering with MONEXgroup, a leading Canadian POS terminal and merchant services provider, is the first step in supporting your customers’ contactless cards. We offer merchants a wide range of POS terminals, such as the classic in-store countertop POS terminal, the Clover Mini which has the Tap & Go feature and is an excellent selection for a brick-and-mortar store. The Clover Flex utilizes WiFi and LTE networks making it an ideal choice for restaurants, delivery service, or for those who work outside as a contractor.

MONEXgroup helps protect the security of contactless cards by only offering POS terminals that are fully PCI compliant. We provide our merchants with the latest PCI compliant technology whereby we can secure their success and help them focus on building and retaining relationships with their customers. Moreover, MONEXgroup maintains the highest level of PCI Compliance in Canada with the most stringent security standards in the industry. In terms of security measures, MONEXgroup offers the latest SHA-2 standard POS terminals with 256 bit SSL encryption as a mandatory upgrade for merchants who are utilizing the older SHA-1 standard (128 bit encryption) which is being phased out in 2017. Our contactless technologies verify the signature and eliminate the customers’ responsibility for Authentication. MONEXgroup strictly adheres to the regulations of PCI Compliance as all of our POS solutions include measures such as CVV2/CVC2, Duplicate card Checking, Last Four-Digit Entry and Password Protection of Key Functions.

MONEXgroup also employs Account Security Verification (AVS); which verifies the cardholder’s billing address with the card issuer. Card Security Verification occurs by looking at the credit card’s security value (non-embossed 3-4 digits code) and checks it against the issuer’s value on file. But it’s not all about the point of sale terminals – it is actually the outstanding level of service that separates MONEXgroup from other payment processing providers.

Author: Lindsey Lu, Marketing Communication Specialist, MONEXgroup
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