Are you contactless?

Are you contactless?

Contactless cards are designed to make your life that little bit easier. They allow you to pay for goods up to £30 without needing to enter your PIN. Many shops, restaurants, and businesses have contactless reader devices which make transactions faster and smoother.

Contactless payments are becoming increasingly common on a range of devices including:

  • Pre-paid, debit, charge and credit cards
  • Stickers
  • Key fobs
  • Wearable devices, such as watches and wristbands
  • Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets

The underlying technology for all of these contactless payment devices is the same. The contactless device contains an antenna so that when it is touched against a contactless terminal, it securely transmits purchase information to and from the terminal.

You can tell if you have a contactless card if you see the following contactless indicator on the front or back of your card.


Last year the number of transaction with this type of device reached 1 billion compared with 319m in 2014.  The fact that security is lax as you no longer need to use your 4-digit pin code for these small amounts can be worrying to some.

Also in some instances cards have inadvertently registered a payment when too close to a reader such as having your card in your wallet when using your bus pass.  This is rare but something to be aware of.

And it is not just cards that use the system, other devices which will not necessarily have a contactless indicator on them may require you to activate them. For example, you may have a payment app on your smartphone, which requires you to activate it through a passcode or your fingerprint.

You are also able to make contactless payments for over £30 if you have a device that supports this. You will need to verify yourself on your device before you can make the contactless payment. For example, if you have a smartphone you may be able to verify yourself through a passcode or your fingerprint on your payment app, and then make a purchase for over £30.

It seems that we are all destined for a contactless future often without a choice. Many banks and financial institutions do not give the customer the option to have a card without the contactless option. RBS, NatWest Virgin Money and Barclaycard do not allow an opt-out but uoui do have a choice with Nationwide, TSB, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander but you will find that you have to make a request not to have this type of card or one will be automatically be issued.

Do you have a contactless card?  Do you want one?  Do you use one?  Do you use your smartphone or other device to pay for purchased under £30? We are interested to hear what our readers think about this new and widely used technology.