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“Contactless” payment leaves consumers exposed

Before the end of the year around three million customers of Barclays will have received Visa debit cards that can be used for “contactless” purchases.

The bank already has over 1.5 million contactless-enabled Barclaycards in circulation but is rolling out the programme further.

The “touch and go” technology means that the card can be waived at a “reader” on a retailer’s counter and there is no need to enter a PIN.

Around 8,000 stores currently accept this form of payment and new retailers are signing up daily.

Barclays is currently leading the field in its application of the new technology, although HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS are all working on their own offerings.

The new cards require a PIN for transactions over £10 and ATM withdrawals but removing the need to enter a PIN when making even a small purchase raises security issues.

If a card is lost or stolen, fraudulent use is simple and according to banking regulations, consumers are liable for up to £50 of any loss incurred prior to reporting the loss of the card to their bank.

There is a safeguard in that after a certain number of “contactless” transactions PIN verification is required.

In addition, banks may have to be lenient with customers whose cards are used fraudulently to ensure that “contactless” payment takes off.

However, overall, the industry is demanding more of its customers in terms of reducing card fraud.

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