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PayWave and PayPass credit cards answered

On Mozo Answers we’ve had a lot of questions about Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass credit cards. As more and more providers are making “tap and go” a mandatory feature of credit cards, it’s important to know what it’s all about.

A common query that has popped up on our forum is around security and cover, such as “am I protected against theft” and “am I covered for fraud?” These are valid concerns and we’ve decided that it’s about time those lingering questions about “tap and go” credit cards are answered. Below are some of the most popular queries in regards to payWave and PayPass credit cards:

What is payWave and PayPass?

Almost all new credit cards come with either the Visa payWave or MasterCard PayPass feature. It’s a simple way of purchasing items under $100. You can either tap or hover your credit card up to 4cm away from the terminal and your transaction is processed without a pin or signature.

A lot of retailers are taking on this new payment method, to reduce waiting queues and cash handling. At the moment many of the large outlets have the “tap and go” option, such as Bunnings, JB Hi-Fi, Caltex, 7-11 and McDonald’s (and many more).
How it works: Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass credit cards allow you to “tap and go” due to the embedded near-field communication (NFC) chip, which transmits your information to the POS terminal. There is also a radio antenna embedded into the credit card that sends radio frequencies, allowing contactless payments.

Is it secure?

It won’t be long until you have your first experience using a “tap and go” credit card. You’ll enter your local 7-11, go up to the counter and tap your credit card against the POS terminal, without a pin or signature. And you might ponder is this really safe?
There are several precautions credit card providers have put in place to protect you from any theft or fraud:

  • It has to be up to 4cm away from the reader, to ensure you don’t accidentally pay for another person’s transaction
  • The same transaction cannot be put through twice due to a unique authentication code for each sale
  • All Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass credit cards use secure encryption (cryptographic key) technology, which gives you data protection and transaction security
  • It is always in your hand as the transaction is processed
  • “Tap and go” credit cards use the same network as swipe credit cards

It’s unlikely that any crim can do considerable damage using the “tap and go” option of payments under $100. However it’s important to be aware of your spending, by checking your transactions regularly and informing your bank of anything out of the ordinary. Most thieves will act in the first 48 hours, so the quicker you catch them out, the better.

Am I covered?

All the credit cards we looked at with Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass are covered by a zero liability policy, which means you are protected against unauthorised transactions or fraud, with 100% reimbursement.
Most of the credit cards provide protection for in-store transactions, online transactions, phone transactions, and overseas and domestic transactions. It’s important to check your monthly statement for any fraudulent activity because some providers state that it has to be reported within a reasonable period of time (and this can vary with providers).

Watch out for exclusions of cover! Some zero liability policies don’t provide cover for ATM and Eftpos transactions.

Can I disable the paywave/pass feature?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no. You can’t disable the payWave or PayPass feature on your credit card and most replacement credit cards come with the feature.

It is a reality that the “tap and go” credit card option is going to be used in most retail outlets in the future. Did you know there’s even going to be a credit card released that you can use to “tap and go”? As technology changes the Mozo team is here to give you the facts. If you still have any queries about payWave and PayPass credit cards check out the Mozo credit card payWave and PayPass guide.

Mozo Editorial
Mozo Editorial

Mozo’s team of experienced journalists and money experts provide news, insights, practical guides and expert analysis to help you master your personal finances. We follow editorial guidelines that focus on accuracy, reliability and timeliness; helping you make informed financial decisions with confidence and the most of your hard-earned money.