Will the new 'tap and go' credit card technology save time?

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October 27, 2010

New credit card technology is expected to change the way we shop, but is this new system safe or will it impede our daily lives?

The "tap and go" technology allows consumers to pay for transactions of $100 or less by swiping their Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass debit and credit cards past a specialised EFTPOS scanner at selected retailers.

While this technology is new to our shores, it has been used in other parts of the world for several years. More than 50 million MasterCard PayPass cards were issued around the world and 141,000 merchants offering the device, the Commonwealth Bank says.

Damian Smith, RateCity's CEO, says the new technology is an important part of Australia's financial services industry. "It's great to see that Australia's financial services industry is catching up," he says.

Enjoy the faster shopping time but use with caution
Smith says that Australians should embrace the new technology but should be cautious of the dangers.

"Like all types of technology that have access to your money such as online banking or even cash in your wallet," Smith says, "consumers need to be aware of the dangers that are associated such as fraud and theft."

Providers have confirmed that there are security measures in place to help consumers avoid losing their funds. For instance, because the "tap and go" card doesn't physically leave your hand there's less chance of leaving your card behind for someone to pick up. There is also less risk of card skimming from the magnetic stripe because you don't need to enter the card into a machine.

"Providers are aware of the concerns that consumers have regarding the security risks to 'tap and go' systems so they have offered money back for any unauthorised transactions," Smith says.

Keep your 'tap and go' card safe
In addition to the safety measures, here are some tips on things you can do to keep your card secure:

Regularly check your statements and look for any suspicious or unusual transactions. Also keep an eye on your balance.

  • Keep your card in a safe place and know where it is at all times.
  • If you see any unauthorised transactions or your card is lost or stolen, contact your financial services provider immediately.



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