With contactless cards and contactless payment on the up and up in the UK (and the rest of the world – for that matter), now might be a good time to start considering the value of the technology and whether it’s right for you. For many people, contactless technology facilitates a more streamlined payment option, but for some others, contactless payment is simply another way that card companies are making it easier for card owners to spend their money. So, are contactless cards as valuable as they first appear, or are they a scam?
How Can a Debit Card be Contactless?
If you don’t know what contactless cards are, don’t worry – they’ve only really just started to become a mainstream thing, so here’s a brief explanation. Essentially, a contactless debit card is one that doesn’t require being placed into a card reader for the payment to be taken. Instead, the user simply holds the card over the ‘wave’ icon on the card reader’s screen until the wave goes green, and then the payment is complete. The technology used is called near field communications technology – essentially the same wireless chip technology that exists in Oyster cards for the London Underground.
Could You Benefit from the Technology?
Now you have a basic understanding of what contactless debit cards are and how they work, you probably want to know if you’ll benefit from using one. In essence, it all depends on the type of person you are. If you’re the sort of person who desires a fast-paced life, there’s no reason why a contactless card wouldn’t be of value to you. With a card that can do contactless payment, you’ll be able to make transactions in only a couple of seconds, and this makes your time in retail environments much more rapid.
But Are There Any Downsides?
Although contactless cards speed up a transaction, they have their downsides. First, not all retailers use them – despite the fact that contactless payment-enabled card machines are widely available from retailers such as Card-Cutters. Second, you can only spend up to £20 per transaction using the contactless payment feature of the card in an effort to prevent piracy. Finally, the ease at which you can make a transaction by the contactless method means that it’s easier than ever to spend money on frivolity, so if you’re not brilliant with your money, you might find yourself spending cash like it’s nothing.
Ultimately, contactless payment is certainly more than just an extra gimmick and provides a plethora of benefits to the user; it’s definitely something to consider next time you upgrade a card.