Is Tap and Pay by Credit Card Safe?

Is Tap and Pay by Credit Card Safe?

TapnPay is a service available to all its customers for payments at various merchant stores.

Speaking at the FNB and Visa 11th Annual Card Security Week, Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card, said the bank plans to strongly enter the tap-and-go market at the beginning of 2016.

“We are trying to get customers away from carrying cash in their pockets and move to convenient card payments,” said Labuschagne.

However, the verdict on the safety of this payment method is still out. “The security of tap-and-go has its shortcomings. What happens when I lose the card?” says Jason Jordaan, principal forensic scientist and cybercrime specialist at DFIRLABS.

Going full scale

In June, FNB converted 20% of its credit card customer base to contactless – or near-field communication (NFC) technology – and introduced new cards with tap-and-go payment functionality.

FNB makes steady tap-and-go progress

First National Bank

Tap-and-go is a contactless payment feature and can only operate on “very close contact with an enabled point-of-sale”. Since introducing tap-and-go, FNB says it has 400 000 credit cards that have the payment functionality in the market.

The bank now plans to introduce debit cards with the tap-and-go function for its customers.

“Early next year, we are going with our debit card solution; the guys are testing at the moment. Our credit card is enabled, debit card next year and then we will start rolling out to the [client] base,” said Labuschagne.

“Some of the big merchants are coming online. There are plans with Shoprite and Pick n Pay to come online. We are dependent on the merchants to make sure this payment service becomes a success.”

How safe is safe?

Jordaan says NFC technology like tap-and-go is a brave and exciting method in the world of payments, but it does present some security worries.

“Tap-and-go is convenient for small purchases like pies and chips at garage stores, but the problem arises when your card goes missing or gets stolen.

“Although customers can indicate that when some purchases reach a certain amount a PIN should be entered, I still don’t know if it will be safer than the chip and PIN functionality on bank cards,” Jordaan adds.

However, Labuschagne says the security features include that card users enter the PIN intermittently to verify the user, and there is a R200 ceiling on the value of a contactless transaction, which is based on an interbank agreement.

He also notes FNB plans to educate customers on how to use the service and what to look out for in terms of security features.

FNB also notes if such a card is lost or stolen, FNB will protect the customer against fraud loss, as long as they take reasonable precautions to protect the card and immediately report it missing.


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