Contactless payment technology is becoming more common. This fast payment method allows transactions under $100 to be paid for by a tap or wave of your card.
Contactless cards have a radio antenna in the plastic which transmits information to and from the contactless checkout terminal. Cards with this feature usually have a special logo or marking. If you are not sure if your card is contactless, speak to your card issuer.
While contactless cards may be either credit or debit cards, all transactions made using those cards are currently processed as credit transactions, even if you use a debit card. This could make a difference to any surcharges you pay.
A card surcharge is a fee that a retailer adds to the purchase amount when you use a credit or debit card. Some retailers can charge between 0.5% to 10% of the payment amount in surcharges on purchases.
Retailers are required to put up clear signage to let you know if you are paying a surcharge when you use your contactless card; and ASIC has publicly reiterated the need for merchants to clearly disclose any credit card surcharges.
Be sure to always carefully check your account statements. If you see any purchases that you know you didn’t make, contact your card issuer immediately. It is important that you do this quickly to fix the problem and prevent any more unauthorised transactions.
When you report a mistake on your account make sure you get a reference number so you can later verify that you made the report.
With mistaken transactions if you report the problem within 10 days of it occurring you should get your money back if the money is still in the recipient’s account. It will be a slower process if the transaction occurred more than 10 days ago.
The ePayments Code is an industry code of practice that virtually all banks, building societies and credit unions, and some payment services like PayPal and BPAY have signed up to. If your card issuer is a member of the ePayments Code then you will have some protection when you make electronic payments. You can check ASIC’s ePayments Code subscribers’ list to see if your card issuer has signed up to the ePayments Code.
If your card issuer is a member of the Code they must give you your money back if it is clear that you haven’t contributed to the loss or if the merchant has incorrectly debited your account more than once.
If your card issuer is not a member, you can still raise your concerns with them. You can also ask them to sign up to the ePayments Code.
You should speak to your card issuer if you have any concerns about your contactless card or if you want to know more about the security of the contactless feature.
Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart website at moneysmart.gov.au for more information about contactless cards and the ePayments Code.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission