A Brief Guide to Contactless Card Payments

The pandemic has brought public health to the forefront of our everyday lives, including how we avoid pathogens in public spaces. Over 50% of U.S. shoppers now use contactless payments and other touch-free technology.

Do you want to know more about contactless card payments? Whether you already use it or have never heard of it, you probably have questions about this new form of payment.

How does contactless technology work? Is it vulnerable to security issues like public WiFi? What types of contactless payments are available?

Read on for the answers to these questions and other relevant information.

What are Contactless Card Payments?

Contactless payment is self-explanatory. This method uses technology to process a payment without any contact from you.

You can avoid the millions of germs deposited by other shoppers. It’s also faster and easier than manual readers.

Contactless Card Payment Types

There are two main types of contactless cards, a contactless-enabled credit or debit card or a virtual card. You may be able to use either or both methods depending on your financial institution and/or credit card company.

1. Contactless Enabled

A contactless-enabled debit or credit card is a usual physical card, except it can communicate payment information virtually. If no touch-free technology is available, it can still be processed through regular methods.

You should have a WiFi symbol on the back of your card if it’s contactless-enabled. If you don’t have the symbol, check with your card issuer to see if contactless payments are an option.

Most major financial institutions offer contactless cards. Some issuers, like Bank of America and Captial One, automatically issue all-new replacement cards with this option built-in.

If your card isn’t already contactless, however, you don’t have to apply for a new one just yet.

2. Virtual Card

What is a virtual card? How is it different from contactless-enabled cards? A virtual card is a digital copy of your physical card that can be stored or accessed on a wireless device.

Your financial institution and your phone must be compatible with digital wallet platforms like Google or Apple Pay or other similar apps to use these digital cards.

Your options for using your credit card now include: as a regular physical card, as a contactless credit card, or as a digital card for smartphone card payments.

How do Contactless Card Payments Work?

You simply hold your card or device close to a payment reader, which scans your information according to the method you’re using (card, cell phone, smartwatch, etc.)

This allows you to make a card payment without inserting your card into a chip reader or sliding it through a scanner. The contactless payment terminal and device/chip use Near-Field Communication (NFC) to exchange information.

Are Contactless Card Payments Safe?

Your contactless options are protected by the same fraud guarantees as a regular card. They also utilize the same anti-counterfeit chip technology and helps to pay for online payments.

Contactless card payments typically include two-factor authentication like physical cards. They also generate one-time tokens for each payment processing.

Although they aren’t immune to fraud (no payment method is), they aren’t uniquely vulnerable either.

Smart Technology For Smart Solutions

Our main payment options used to be cash or checks. Credit and debit cards changed the shopping landscape, and now contactless card payments are modernizing it once again.

Our articles bring you up-to-date information on the latest technology and technological solutions. Browse the articles in our tech or business sections to learn more!