Tap and go payments questioned


paypass, contactless, payment, POS, credit cardMastercard has downplayed claims tap and go debit card technology is a boon for fraudsters, but concedes customers do complain about them.

During sentencing this week of a woman who had used someone else’s PayPass debit card more than 30 times before being caught, Magistrate Michael Wheeler of the Perth Magistrates Court said they were all too easy to use unlawfully.

Wheeler noted fraudsters could even get away with using a card bearing the name of someone of a different gender because they were not checked.

And after Western Australian Police appealed to the public on social media for information about another fraudster who bought almost $1500 worth of items using a debit card stolen from a shopper’s handbag, people vented their frustration with PayPass online.

The cards can only be used for transactions up to $100 – but fraudsters can use them dozens of times before the owner realises his/hers has gone missing. Banks are liable to pay back any pilfered money.

“PayPass, what a dumb stupid pathetic scheme to save five seconds. It’s my card. I don’t want that option,” one post read.

“Why don’t we have a choice whether to have PayPass?” another read.

A Mastercard spokeswoman said consumers did have choice: they could use the tap and go functionality or swipe the card and enter their PIN as they had always done.

She said most consumer complaints were resolved quickly as they involved small sums of money.

But the process is said to be frustrating.

“Yes, it’s true you will hopefully get your stolen money back, but it takes a minimum of eight weeks and if they (banks) decide against giving your money back, you will be charged an additional $25 for each purchase you have disputed,” one of the WA Police Facebook page posts read.

“All this with your own savings, mind you, not a credit card.”

The Mastercard spokeswoman said the vast majority of lost, stolen, or never arrived cards used by fraudsters did not involve contactless transactions.

“Lost or stolen cards can be used online or for telephone transactions as the fraudsters have access to the CVV2 code on the back of the card,” she said.

The spokeswoman said fraud using contactless means accounted for less than two per cent of all total card fraud.

“This is in the context of massive growth in the contactless category,” she said.

“Contactless transactions have grown by 350 per cent year on year from calendar 2012 to calendar 2013.”

In May, however, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said tap and go credit cards were one of the main factors behind a five per cent surge in the state’s crime rates.

A WA Police spokesman described it as a “potential issue”.

“We are currently monitoring crime trends in WA to establish whether or not the same trends are being seen here,” he said.


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