How do I get Visa contactless?
As contactless payments become the standard method of payment for purchases under £30, your bank will usually issue you with a contactless card automatically when your existing one expires. Otherwise, you can apply for a new contactless card from your bank in the same way you would apply for any other Visa card. Check with your bank for an update on what Visa contactless cards are available.
You can also download the Visa app onto your smartphone from Google Play or Apple App Store to make mobile phone payments.
How do I use my Visa contactless card?
Where can I pay with Visa contactless?
There are more than one million places where you can use your Visa contactless card, mobile phone or wearable in Europe, 400,000 of which are in the UK. So it’s everywhere you want to be, including retailers like M&S, McDonald’s, Starbucks, WHSmiths, Post Office, EAT, Pret A Manger and The Co-operative Food, as well as many pubs and bars, independent stores, and across all of the Transport for London travel network including London Underground and London buses.
What's my spending limit?
While the contactless card limit is £30, you can now make payments over £30 using your mobile phone, providing your bank and the merchant in question authorises them. It’s safer than carrying cash, and quicker than Chip and PIN.
How secure is a Visa contactless payment?
Contactless payments are more secure than carrying cash for a number of reasons:
- The information on your card is protected with secure Chip and PIN technology. Data transmitted during transactions is encrypted and protected with a digital signature that is much harder to forge than a handwritten one.
- If your card is lost or stolen, you’re protected against unauthorised payments provided you inform your bank as soon as you realise it’s gone. Your card will be blocked immediately.
- If your card does fall into the wrong hands, the maximum amount per transaction is £30, and after repeated payments, the person will be asked for a PIN. For payments over £30, authorisation is required, so nobody can make purchases without your PIN or mobile phone passcode.
- Each time your contactless device interacts with a payments terminal, it generates a one-time-only electronic signature and cryptogram, making it just as secure as a normal Chip transaction.
- For payments over £30, the person would first need passcode access to your mobile phone. Even then, PIN validation would usually be required, especially if your bank noticed unusual spending patterns or locations.
Has card fraud increased since the introduction of Visa contactless cards?
No. Visa contactless cards are very safe indeed. In fact, fraud levels for contactless cards are lower than for non-contactless cards. Thanks to the chip and PIN technology, contactless payments are very unattractive to fraudsters.
Couldn't I accidentally use my contactless card by walking past a terminal?
No. First of all, the contactless chip needs to be very close to the terminal (always less than ten centimetres and usually less than two centimetres) – so generally a tap of the card or phone above the terminal is required to make the payment.
Also, in a typical transaction, the sales assistant has to enter the amount for you to approve first, and then your card or mobile phone has to be held within a couple of centimetres of the terminal for longer than half a second. You should never be asked to hand over your card or mobile phone for a contactless payment.
Can a fraudster with a bogus contactless terminal steal information from my card by brushing up against me?
No. None of the information useful to today’s fraudsters, such as the three-digit CVV code, PIN, Visa passcode, card security code, billing address and other hidden security data, can be read from a bogus terminal.
Could the data on my Visa contactless card be changed without my knowledge?
No, your data is safe. Only your bank can update or change the data on the card.
What if I present my Visa contactless device twice by mistake? Could I get charged twice?
No. You can only pay once for any transaction. The terminal will not accept two payments for one purchase – just like if you were using Chip and PIN.
If I have two contactless cards, could both of them be read simultaneously?
No. The Visa contactless technology has ‘anti-collision’ features; this means that if two cards are held to a terminal only one payment will be processed. Or, in some cases, the entire payment may be cancelled. If you do have more than one contactless card, it’s always best to present the one you want to pay with to the terminal – and leave the other in your purse or wallet.
What if I want to pay for a London bus fare and I have both an Oyster card and a Visa contactless card?
If an Oyster card and a contactless card are presented simultaneously, the Oyster card will generally take priority and be used for the payment. In some cases, the entire payment may be cancelled. You can be sure that only one card will ever be charged. But it’s always best to present the card you want to pay with to the reader – and leave any others in your purse or wallet.