Advertisement
Technology

A New Way to Tap and Pay

Seventy-eight of the top 100 U.S. merchants can now handle contactless transactions, and more contactless cards are rolling out.

For years, Apple Pay and other mobile wallets have offered customers the ability to “tap to pay” at the register. Now, U.S. credit- and debit-card issuers are hopping on the bandwagon. Contactless payments are typically speedier than transactions in which you insert a card into a chip reader. To use a contactless card, you hold it within a few inches of any terminal that accepts near-field communication (NFC) payments—look for a symbol with four vertical curves.

All newly issued and renewed Chase Visa consumer credit cards now have contactless-payment capability. Chase Visa debit cards will carry the technology starting in the second half of 2019. Capital One added contactless technology to its Quicksilver, Savor and Venture credit cards last year. American Express is actively issuing some credit cards—including the Hilton Honors and Gold cards—with contactless capability, and you can request a contactless-enabled version of any Amex consumer card. Pentagon Federal Credit Union is also issuing contactless Visa credit and debit cards.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Among U.S. merchants that accept Visa payments, 78 of the top 100 (ranked by number of transactions) can now handle contactless transactions. Target recently announced that it would soon take contactless payments; other merchants accepting them include Costco Wholesale, CVS Pharmacy and McDonald’s.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

More secure. A contactless card transfers unique, encrypted data when you tap to pay—just as it does when you insert it into a chip reader—so that thieves can’t glean enough useful information in a breach to create counterfeit cards. Fraudsters could use a skimming device to steal data from your card by coming in close proximity to it. But that’s not a valid concern because crooks still can’t gather enough viable data to make counterfeit cards, says Randy Vanderhoof, director of the U.S. Payments Forum.

You could buy an “RFID blocking” wallet or sleeve to play it safe, but it may not be worthwhile. Wrapping your card in foil will obstruct the signal, says Vanderhoof.

Advertisement

Most Popular

HSAs Get Even Better
Financial Planning

HSAs Get Even Better

Workers have more options with flexible spending accounts, too.
July 2, 2020
Find a Great Place to Retire
happy retirement

Find a Great Place to Retire

Our cities provide plenty of space to spread out without skimping on health care or other amenities.
July 2, 2020
What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020

Recommended

52 Super Deals and Discounts for 2020
spending

52 Super Deals and Discounts for 2020

With a special nod to those of you spending more time at home, we found dozens of deals and discounts, plus ways to save (or make) money.
June 6, 2020
Banks Canceling Credit Cards, Cutting Limits
credit & debt

Banks Canceling Credit Cards, Cutting Limits

If you haven’t used a card in awhile, make a small purchase with it to keep it open. It’s good for your credit score.
June 4, 2020
Milliennials Face Their Second Recession
credit & debt

Milliennials Face Their Second Recession

Forty percent of millennials say the pandemic will likely cause them to delay payments on their debts. Does that include you? Time to take action.
June 4, 2020
When Savings Bonds Make Sense
credit & debt

When Savings Bonds Make Sense

Series I savings bonds are safe options, but don’t go all in.
June 3, 2020