More than 30m contactless payment cards have been issued in the UK. But some Marks & Spencer customers are finding their new contactless cards are more trouble than they’re worth.
The benefit of contactless payment cards is that, unlike normal chip-and-Pin cards, you don’t need to enter your Pin to pay for items worth less than £20.
This should help speed up transaction times and make queues shorter. However, there may be a downside to this increased convenience.
Double payment trouble
Over the weekend, there have been reports that some contactless card readers are taking transactions from cards that customers aren’t even holding near the payment terminals. Card readers are only supposed to take payments from contactless cards when a customer holds their card within a four centimeters distance.
Some M&S customers have reported payments being taken from cards in their purses or wallets, even when held at much greater distances. In some instances, customers were charged twice – once to the card they intended to pay with, and once to the same or a different contactless card without realising.
Obviously, this kind of error could cause a great deal of inconvenience for customers. Not only could you accidentally end up paying twice – you might end up paying on a card that’s getting near to its credit limit.
Inconvenient contactless cards
M&S is just one of around twenty major retailers to use the contactless technology at the moment, but smaller retailers are using the system too. And the number of places you can pay with contactless cards is expected to grow over the next few years. So, this is an issue that banks and retailers need to get sorted.
We’ve talked about issues with contactless cards before, as many people have concerns about their practicality. For example, Conversation commenter David Coleman complained that he was overcharged in a local pub because he didn’t get the opportunity to see the total before he paid.
‘I ordered two drinks at a local pub charged at £5.50 and the barmaid …just swiped my card – I didn’t even know that was possible. Just checked my statement and she has taken £15 from my account instead of the £5.50 the drinks cost!’
Do you have any concerns about contactless cards? Have you had payments taken from a card accidentally? Or has your bank given you a contactless card you don’t want?