Touch-free spending with contactless cards

March 09, 2021
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Are you ready to go contactless? We’re hoping your answer is an enthusiastic YES, but we also understand that you might have some questions about contactless cards: What are they? How are they used? And the biggie: Are they safe? Well, your friendly neighborhood bank is here to give you straight answers to these questions, along with a couple of user tips on how to make the most of your contactless card.

What is a contactless card? Put simply, a contactless debit card has a small embedded near-field communication (NFC) chip that emits encrypted short-range radio waves via an NFC antenna when you use it to pay at a contactless-enabled terminal. That means that you do not have to swipe or insert your card into the card reader. This innovative technology could not come at a better time, as we’re all looking for ways to reduce surface contact during the pandemic.

How do I use it? You make your payment by placing your card within a few inches of a contactless-enabled terminal for just a second or two. It’s often referred to as tapping, but you don’t have to actually touch — or tap — the terminal. To indicate when the transaction is complete, the payment terminal may beep, display a green checkmark, or flash a green light.

Is it secure? Contactless cards use the same security features as inserting a chip card. Each time you make a transaction, a one-time security code is generated, so your payment information is protected. Also, you can’t accidentally pay for another shopper’s purchases, as your card must be held flat over the payment terminal at very close range (1 to 2 inches) for the transaction to be approved. And if you tap twice by mistake when you’re paying for your own haul, you won’t be charged twice; the terminal will read one card and one transaction at a time.

Why do I want one? There are several reasons contactless cards are becoming so popular, and the first reason is just what its name would indicate. With these innovative touchless cards, we’re all able to, well, touch less at a time when we’re all trying to minimize contact with everything. It’s a faster, easier method of payment, which is also important, as we’re trying to reduce the time we spend in crowds (and let’s face it, none of us ever seem to have enough time these days). Plus, it’s as secure as a chip card.

What were those user tips? When using your card, you’ll want to hold it flat over the terminal (not at an angle), close but not touching — the 1- to 2-inch range is perfect. You’ll also want to avoid holding up your transaction with something called “card clash” (when the terminal tries to read more than one card in a case or wallet) by holding only the card you’re using for payment over the terminal.

At UBT, we’re pretty excited to be offering contactless debit cards and sharing our no-touch know-how with you. For more information on any of our debit cards contact UBT Customer Support.

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