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Your Money

Five questions about... Contactless cards


Are these the wave-and-pay cards?

That’s right. They’re credit and debit cards that make it easier to spend as there’s no need to put in a PIN.

Are they catching on?

They seem to be. Visa said this week that more than 5m contactless transactions were made in the UK in March, growth of 46 per cent. Meanwhile, the UK Cards Association says that 32.5m plastic cards with contactless technology have been issued and there are more than 147,000 terminals in retailers.

So everything’s good?

Not really. BBC’s Moneybox reported last week that some Marks & Spencer customers have had money taken from contactless cards other than the ones intended for payment. The UK Cards Association played down the issue: “These problems are exceptionally rare.”

But the wrong card could be debited?

Yes. Cards have to be no more than 5cm or 2ins away from terminals. But if other cards are close, such as in the same wallet, they could be charged.

So what should I do?

“Customers should be careful not to place wallets containing other cards close to readers when paying,” says the UK Cards Association. And take cards out of wallets when paying.