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Contactless Cards | Nigeria adopting New Technology

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What is Contactless Card?

A contactless card is a physical smart card that is part of a contactless payment system.This cards offers more convenience than the standard debit or credit cards.

Contactless cards has a built-in-radio frequency module that allows it to be processed without having to insert the card or swipe.All you have to do is to simply hold it close to an RFID reader.

Contactless cards are used by waving or tapping your contactless cards over a reader.

How do I Know if my Card is s Contact Card?

The contactless card come with the wifi symbol.If your Debit/credit card has this symbol,it means you have a contacless card.

Contactless card

How Does Contactless Cards Work?

Contactless cards have a chip inside them that emits radio waves.An antenna is built into the plastic to secure connections with a contactless reader.

To pay for something with a contactless credit or debit card,you hold the card near a payment terminal(known as RFID reader) and it picks up the signal,communicates with the card and process the payment.

To make withdrawals using the contactless cards,you also hold your card near the payment terminal which picks up the signal,communicate with the card and then withdrawals are made.

In Nigeria,you are required to enter a PIN before carrying out any request

Contactless Cards in Nigeria

A contactless card user said “I received my card  in may 2018, I had no idea it had a new feature.I saw the WiFi symbol and I assumed it was a just a change in design.Out of curiosity,i figured out months later that what i was holding is a contactless card”

“Still in 2018, I was a trainee for a program and I mentioned to the participants about the new feature of some Cards. Surprisingly ,more than half of them had a contactless card  but didn’t know”.

The issuing banks did not include users in the change of technology thereby  leaving the users clueless on what it was and how it works.

In 2018, the contacless cards made it’s way into Nigeria.First bank Nigeria launched  a contactless debit card intended to improve ease and convenience of payments.

In 2018,”United Bank for Africa Plc says it has issued over three million Near Field Communication technology-enabled contactless cards to its teeming customers.”

“In addition to the contactless cards, the bank has issued well over 10 million debit and prepaid cards, serving both customers and non-bank customers in its countries of operation,” it added

In essence , there are 10million users with the Contactless card out there.

What are the Known Dangers of Contactless Cards?

According to Total Merchant services,contactless cards aren’t without risk. That’s because criminals are figuring out ways to circumvent the security systems of these cards. Accessing the sensitive personal data that is stored on a contactless card is thought by some to be easy. All a hacker needs to do is to get an RFID reader, readily available online, and then encode the purloined information with a card-magnetizing machine.

Another problem that has recently surfaced with contactless cards is what happens after a card is lost or stolen. Even if the owner immediately cancels the card, there have been instances when criminals were able to continue purchasing items long after the card should have stopped working.

In many cases, this situation happens when a retailer processes batches of customer payments offline. In the case of some smaller stores, a few days can go by before the merchant communicates the cluster of payments to the bank, giving criminals plenty of time to make fraudulent charges.

What has Nigeria Banks Done Differently?

In Nigeria,it isn’t just the wave/tap and carry out transaction.There is an added security mechanism in place – a PIN. After waving/tapping, you are requested to enter your pin to carry out any request.

Can Contactless Card be Used on the Regular ATMs and POS?

If you are going to use the swipe and tap feature of the contactless cards,you need to use a specially designed machine/POS.

That doesn’t mean you cannot insert your ATM cards too because you can ignore the contactless feature and insert cards on ATMs

In Nigeria,there is currently no POS for contactless cards as regards commercial purpose but there are customized POS for corporate. There are also few ATMs that accept the contactless cards.You need to lookout for the WiFi symbol on ATMs and POS to verify if it does aceept it.

Contactless Cards ATM
An ATM in Nigeria that Accepts the Use of Contacless Cards

How to Protect the Contactless Cards from Data Theft

With the increase in cyber crimes, it is mandatory to protect your cards against theft and compromise.

  1. Covering your card with tin foil: The metal acts as a barrier and blocks the contactless signal which is emitted by the card. As tin foil can rip easily – it should be replaced often
  2. Use Special Wallets: There are RFID blocking wallets available that protects your cards from being maliciously scanned.You always need to be aware of where your wallet is, but few of us are proactive enough to realize when someone skims too close and could be maliciously scanning your cards.
  3. Create a strong PIN: Do not use your date of birth as your PIN,use randomly generated numbers to avoid easy guessing.
  4. Check your transaction regularly: Thoroughly checking your monthly bank statements will not only mean you spot contactless transaction scams, but also credit card fraud as a whole. It’s just good practice.If there’s something you don’t recognize, raise the issue with your bank
1 Comment
  1. ADEJUMO, AKEEM ADESEGUN says

    Very Educative!
    Innovations of this nature will no doubt, Improve the socioeconomic activities of the people and makes the world more ‘global’

    Meanwhile, Efforts should be intensified towards protecting the users and also securing the back end informations on this new system.
    Once again, this is an incredible step.

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