Do contactless cards expose you to fraud?
Are you worried about the security of using new technology? Barclays hit the headlines after fears customers using contactless bank cards may have had their data stolen via ‘secret swiping’ techniques.
Most of us are keen to try out new payment methods and forms of banking as they provide quick, convenient and flexible ways to manage our finances.
But are the security risks too great?
Contactless cards are designed to allow rapid payment by holding them against special readers, with no Pin required.
Channel 4 News found that readers built into new mobile phones can be adapted to take data from contactless debit or credit cards by swiping them in people’s wallets and pockets.
The new pickpockets
In the Channel 4 investigation, researchers were then able to buy goods online. The information obtained via the ‘secret swipe’ included the long card number, the expiry date and the cardholder’s name, and none of the information was encrypted.
Barclays has blamed retailers for their systems, stating that the issue isn’t with contactless cards, but with the checks undertaken for ‘card not present’ payments by some retailers.
However, Channel 4 said it was only able to access details of Barclays-issued Visa cards and that other banks and their systems weren’t accessible. Whoever is at fault, these revelations will come as a shock to you if you’re a holder of one of the estimated 15 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK.
Security worries persist
When Barclaycard launched its new Pingit payment system in February, several of you expressed similar security concerns. Conversation commenter William said:
‘Nice idea, shame about the lack of security. We’ll eagerly await the first news story of how people mysteriously lose up to £300 because banks have no idea what security is.’
However, Banking Insider told us:
‘I imagine that Barclays will have considered all of the possible attack vectors including handset-based trojans. I suspect that they’ll have invested very heavily in security which normally involves working with 3rd party security experts. Don’t forget that they are liable for any losses so skimping on security wouldn’t make a lot of business sense.’
Does the same apply to contactless cards or is this a payment method you’ll avoid? Has this latest episode made you even more wary or do you think that there will always be issues when these products are first launched, that are then quickly resolved?
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