There’s no doubt that the invention of contactless cards has made paying for stuff even less of a chore than it was before, because chip and pin was just bare effort… apparently.
However, despite its time-saving credentials its opened us all up as targets for thieves, who now seem to have the technology to swipe money from us without even touching our bank cards.
A Daily Mail investigation found that thieves are using cheap card reading equipment to nick money from contactless cards as their owners walk down the high street or look around in shops.
But this doesn’t just end with the loss in cash, oh no, potentially they could also steal your personal details which they could use for identity fraud.
Despite the fact that contactless fraud only accounted for 0.5 per cent of all card fraud last year, this investigation has showed that a bit of £30 kit could make this figure rise, especially as the use of contactless inevitably grows over the coming years.
Working with experts, Money Mail carried out experiments to see how well the kit can work and they found out that they could take payment from a card two to four inches away- something that could easily be done in a busy shopping environment.
Martyn James, formerly of the Financial Ombudsman Service, told the Mail:
This shows that you should never carry your card loose in a jacket, or keep your wallet in the back pocket of your trousers. A fraudster could bump up against you or rifle through the cloakroom and you’d be robbed of up to £30 without even realising.
However, industry experts have addressed these fears- claiming that it’s hard for criminals to get away with this type of fraud as there are ‘very rigorous’ processes in place to vet businesses who accept such card payments.
Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, said:
While we are aware of various examples where card information had been harvested in various ways in laboratory tests, it is important to stress there has never been a verified real-world case of either of these types of fraud. Contactless cards are very safe and use the same robust industry-standard secure encryption technology as Chip and PIN. The actual evidence is very clear: fraud on contactless cards declined in the first six months of the year and at 3.1p in every £100 spent, remains lower than overall card fraud.
But with discussions set to take place about raising the spending limit to £50 and predictions that within the next decade that we will virtually make all our payments on debit or credit cards, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.