FNB customers have made over R14 billion in ‘tap’ or contactless payments in the twelve months to June 2019, with continued month on month growth. File Picture Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency(ANA)

DURBAN - FNB customers have made over R14 billion in ‘tap’ or contactless payments in the twelve months to June 2019, with continued month on month growth. 

This upward trend points to growing appetite for the convenience of contactless payments in South Africa’s consumer and business sectors.

FNB’s customers processed over 60 million ‘tap’ transactions over the 12 months using their contactless enabled FNB Credit and Debit Cards. In excess of 46 million transactions were on Debit Cards while Credit Cards accounted for nearly 20 million.

Chief Executive for FNB Retail, Raj Makanjee said, "All our customers have contactless enabled cards, and this contributes significantly to our efforts to empower customers with convenient and safer ways to pay. Our goal is to minimise reliance on cash by ensuring that customers have access to payment options that accommodate their day to day needs". 

He added, "Contactless cards allow users to tap against a contactless reader to pay for goods and services without the card leaving their hand, resulting in added convenience and security. This technology protects our customers against card related fraud such as card skimming, as they no longer have to insert their card into the point of sale device". 

Earlier this year, FNB also introduced Scan to Pay on the FNB App, enabling customers to simply make payments by scanning a QR Code. Scan to Pay usage has seen double digit month on month growth since its launch.

"With Black Friday coming up and consumers preparing for a shopping spree, we expect the typical seasonal peak in ‘tap’ payments, as well as Scan to Pay QR code payments on popular online merchants. Merchants which offer customers convenient forms of payments are able to process transactions faster, reducing queue times and risk of basket abandonment," concluded Makanjee.

Debunking the top five ‘tap-and-go’ contactless card questions

The SABRIC (the South African Banking Risk Information Centre) has reassured South Africans that paying using contactless cards is as secure as traditional cards because they enjoy the same protection measures as chip and PIN payments. Contactless cards and devices are also embedded with multiple layers of security to protect you against fraud. 

Here are a couple of typical questions and corresponding facts on contactless technology.

1. Can fraudsters steal money from my card with a wireless scan or tap it on a card machine behind my back

Contactless is only effective when the reader and the card in question are pointing in the same direction. This means that a fraudster would need to be very close to you, and hold the device in exactly the right way to even attempt a successful payment.

Readers also cannot scan more than one card at the same time. Many of us carry more than one card and keep them all together in our purse or wallet. A card reader would not work in this case.

Any fraudster hoping to do quick multiple transactions would find the process not so easy, because every transaction would need them to enter an amount, print a charge slip and repeat the process with every tap.

2. Are contactless transactions safe if I do not need to enter my PIN?

Although the technology that allows contactless transactions is safe, your bank uses your PIN number to verify that it is indeed you. However, contactless transactions provide a very convenient way to pay.

In South Africa, there is an agreed industry limit of R500 – below this you should not be required to enter a PIN, but above R500 you will be required to enter your PIN. However, some retailer or banks might elect to do it differently. What consumers need to know, is that they can tap safely for any amount, large or small, and they simply need to enter their PIN when prompted to do so by the POS device. But you have nothing to fear if you are not asked to enter your PIN.

3. How secure are payments made with my phone, smartwatch or fitness tracker?

To make a Visa contactless payment with any device other than your card, you will identify yourself with a fingerprint scan or a private passcode on the device to approve each transaction. Mobile or device wallet transactions also receive the same real-time monitoring and fraud detection as any other Visa transaction made with a chip or magnetic stripe card. And, using a technology we call “tokenization”, makes these transactions more secure by replacing the cardholder’s information with digital tokens. 

4. Can fraudsters intercept transaction data while I make a contactless payment?

Visa cards use cutting edge cryptographic technology to protect your information. This makes your transaction unique and your card impossible to duplicate. During a contactless transaction, no critical information and data is shared. 

5. What happens if I lose my card

Call your bank and block the card immediately. Your card cannot be used for any significant purchases without your pin.

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