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Experts say there is no reason to fear Tap and Go. Image: Pexels

Any fears you may have about the security of contactless (“tap and go”) bank cards are unwarranted, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said.

Kalyani Pillay the Chief executive at Sabric said there was no need for people to believe the videos on social media that give the impression that contactless cards are easily exploited by criminals. 

She said, “Sabric has not received any reported crime incidents where ‘tap and go’ cards have been exploited.” 

Contactless payment technology is relatively new in South Africa, but has been available in many jurisdictions for some time. These cards can merely be tapped on a point-of-sale device enabled by near-field communication (NFC) to make payments, which is quick and easy for the card-holder.

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Videos online suggest that criminals can steal money or card data by tapping an NFC-enabled device near your bank card, but Sabric says this is unlikely. Acquiring such a device involves a rigorous vetting process by the issuing bank, it says.

Banks also monitor merchant transaction activity and conduct merchant site visits. Furthermore, this payment option is available only for a predetermined number of low-value transactions on any specific day, after which a PIN is required, so the financial reward associated with these transactions is low, Sabric says.

Stealing data is also not a viable option, Sabric says, as merely holding an NFC-enabled point-of-sale device close to a bank card will not provide enough information to enable fraudulent card-not-present transactions.

“It is unlikely that criminals will be targeting this capability to steal money or card data, as the reward will be insignificant compared with other modus operandi at their disposal,” Pillay said.

Personal Finance