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Contactless cards – your questions answered

Your questions

What is contactless?

Contactless is a quick and simple way to pay for items up to £30 without having to enter your PIN. With contactless, you just hold your card over the contactless reader. When the green light flashes, you’ve made your payment.

How can I tell if I have a contactless card?

Contactless logo

If you have a contactless card you’ll see this symbol on it.

Where can I use it?

Anywhere you see the contactless symbol.

Find out who accepts contactless near you

What’s good about contactless?

Contactless is quicker and simpler than other types of payment:

  • No need to enter a PIN when you spend less than £30 – but for extra security you’ll sometimes be asked for it
  • More control – you never let go of your card when you pay this way
How does contactless work?
  1. When you’re spending £30 or less, look out for the contactless symbol
  2. Place your card on the contactless card reader — take it out of your wallet or purse before you do this
  3. When the card reader beeps and shows a green light your payment is complete

Sometimes you’ll be asked to enter your PIN as an extra security measure.

Do I need to use contactless?

No, it’s completely up to you. You can pay with contactless or Chip and PIN.

How do I get a contactless credit card?

If you’re a new credit card customer your new card will be contactless.

If you’re an existing credit card customer with a Mastercard® we’ll send you a contactless card when your current card expires, or if it’s lost, stolen or damaged. If you’re an existing customers with a Visa credit card you’ll not receive a contactless card.

What’s the payment limit for contactless purchases?

You can use it to pay for items up to £30.

Will I get a receipt when I pay by contactless?

If you want one, just ask, but receipts aren’t usually issued with contactless payments. Sometimes a receipt won’t be available, such as when you pay for travel with a contactless card.

How close does my card need to be to the reader to make a contactless payment?

A few centimetres is usually enough but if you touch your card lightly on the reader this will work. Make sure you take your card out of your wallet or purse first.

Can I use contactless to get cash from an ATM or cashback?

No, you’ll need to use your PIN to make these sorts of transactions.

What happens if I try to make a contactless payment for more than £30?

It won’t be accepted. You’ll be asked to make a Chip and PIN payment.

Does the £30 limit apply outside of the UK?

No. Each country will have its own limit.

Is there a fee when I pay with contactless?

No, it’s just like a Chip and PIN payment. There are no extra charges for making a contactless payment.

Is a contactless payment treated as a cash transaction?

No, it’s treated the same as any other purchase you make with your credit card, unless the type of transaction is usually treated as cash – such buying foreign currency.

Can I use my contactless card over the phone or online?

You can use your credit card to make normal payments on the phone and online, but you can’t use the contactless feature for these transactions.

Is contactless secure?

Yes. It uses secure encryption technology, just like Chip and PIN. You can’t use it for transactions over £30, and you’ll occasionally be asked to enter your PIN to check that you’re the card holder. If you lose your card, or it’s stolen, and tell us as soon as possible in accordance with our terms, you won’t be out of pocket if your card is used fraudulently.

When I make a contactless payment can I be charged twice for the same transaction?

No. Once you the reader accepts your transaction, the transaction is cleared. Readers are tested and certified to make sure they don’t accept more than one payment from the same card at the same time.

If I walk close to a contactless reader could I unknowingly make a payment?

No. Your card must be just a few centimetres from the card reader for at least half a second, and the retailer must have entered the amount for you to approve.

I have more than one contactless card. If I tap my purse or wallet on the card reader which one will be used?

If the transaction was successful, you’ll have to check your statements to find out what card was debited. That’s why we recommend that you take your card out of your purse or wallet before you make the payment.

If the reader detects more than one card, a red light will flash and you’ll be asked to ‘Please present one card only’.

Could someone intercept my card details when I make a payment?

Contactless only works when a card is within a few centimetres of the card reader. This makes it virtually impossible for any details to be intercepted while in use.

If someone steals my card can they it use it to make contactless purchases?

If they make repeated contactless payments, they'll be asked to enter your PIN. That’s why it’s important that you let us know right away if your card is lost or stolen. If someone uses your card fraudulently you’ll be fully covered and get your money back.

Remember, they won’t be able to pay for any transactions over £30 without knowing your PIN.

What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?

Let us know right away by calling 0800 678 3320. We’re open 24 hours.

If your card has been used fraudulently, and you’ve not shared your details with anyone else, you’ll be compensated for any money that’s taken from your account.

What are the security features of contactless cards?
  • Short range – they only work when they’re very close to a contactless card reader, making it hard for fraudsters to access your card details
  • Encryption – they use tried and tested Mastercard security standards and advanced cryptography
  • Limited information – contactless transactions transmit very limited information — things like language preference, card number and other coding. It doesn’t include your name, account number and the security code.
  • Low transaction limits – you can only pay for items up to £30 with contactless — you need to enter your PIN for larger purchases. This means that no one can make large purchases with your card if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Anti-fraud guarantee – if someone does use your card fraudulently, you won’t be out of pocket provided you haven’t shared your details with anyone.
I don’t want a contactless card, who should I speak to?

Talk to your local branch or our telephone banking team if you’re worried about using contactless payments. Remember, contactless cards are a convenient way to make payments up to £30, and they’re just as secure as Chip and PIN.