The appearance of contactless bank cards came as no surprise. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows you to simply touch a payment terminal with your wallet without having to take your bank card out. It is less hassle and makes the transaction process faster. It also protects the card from the prying eyes of others standing nearby or a fraudster’s camera. Keeping your bank card in your wallet or handbag also makes it more difficult for someone to unexpectedly snatch it out of your hands. What’s not to like about contactless bank cards! Well, it appears that thieves are also keeping abreast of the latest technological advances and are set to spoil the carefree lives of contactless cardholders.
First, let’s get something straight – a contactless bank card has a lot more weaknesses than its contact counterpart. The problem lies in the NFC chip. Criminals possess powerful scanners that enable them to remotely read the card information and make payments. Moreover, many cardholders may not even be aware that money is quietly disappearing from their accounts at this very moment. The good news is that this type of theft is easy to prevent – you just need to take some precautions.
First of all, you need to remember that NFC technology enables transmission of data at a very short distance. So, no matter how powerful the thief’s scanner is, it won’t be able to read your bank card information or perform a transaction from a distance of several meters. It’s also worth recalling some basic laws of physics and technological constraints – a scanner will be a contraption that can easily be spotted. The scanning device is not going to be some small barely visible gadget. So, just keep your card away from suspicious people and devices.
A hidden payment using your bank card could also be made while you’re on public transport. To do this, the thief only needs a smartphone with an NFC module, a special program and to stand or sit next to you. So, you need to steer clear of people during the rush hour commute, in queues or any other crowded public place. Impossible, you say? In that case, you need to take some protective measures.
For example, there are wallets on sale that are the designed to protect contactless cards. They are conventional wallets with a special section made of aluminum foil that creates a protective shield. Now your card is safe. By the way, it’s not necessary to actually buy a wallet like this – just place a couple of layers of aluminum foil inside the front section of your wallet.
Another effective way to protect your contactless card is to keep it together with other similar cards such as a discount or parking card. It is very difficult to simultaneously read two different NFC chips and separate the information. This extra layer of passive protection may come in useful.
And what if all these methods aren’t very effective? Simple – log in to your personal account on the bank’s website and cancel the minimum limit on withdrawals, and make sure you have enabled notifications. Yes, it may not be very convenient entering your PIN code every time you pay by credit card, but that’s exactly what the attackers are banking on when they secretly try to use your card. After all, they are pretty sure they will be able to get at least a small sum. And not just once. Why give them the chance?