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To avoid Covid-19 risk, switch to contactless cards before festive shopping

However, beware that if they're stolen, a few transactions of below Rs 2,000 can be made




Unlock 5.0 is unfolding. As people gear up for the festive season, at stores is bound to rise. Buyers will inevitably hand over their physical cards to shopkeepers, thereby exposing themselves to the risk of infection. However, there are ways one can make payments while avoiding physical handling of the card. Using a Near Field Communication (NFC), better known as a contactless card, is one of them. According to Srini Krish, president, Fiserv Global Services: “Contactless payments have gained traction among issuers, merchants, and customers as a fast, easy, and secure way to transact.”

What is it?

Cards that bear a wifi-like symbol are contactless cards. All the user has to do is tap it against a card reader enabled for contactless payments for the transaction to be completed. Says Adhil Shetty, chief executive officer (CEO), BankBazaar: "Your card no longer needs to change hands to enable payment. There is also no hassle of swiping or punching in your PIN for low-value transactions."

If you don't have such a card, contact your bank to get one. Even the RBI wants you to have one. In May this year, it permitted payment networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to allow tap-and-go functionality on card payments.

How it works

With NFC technology, the card uses a magnetic field to communicate with an NFC-enabled card point of sale (PoS) machine when the two are brought within a few centimetres of each other. The card has a chip and a radiofrequency (RFID) antenna that enables it to complete the transaction. No PIN is required for transactions below Rs 2,000.


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First Published: Fri, October 23 2020. 19:51 IST