There are many people that worry about having contactless on their debit and credit cards, but is their worry justified? A contactless transaction allows you to spend up to £30 in a shop without using your pin number on a credit or debit card. You can just touch the card to the payment device and it will deduct the money.
There is a selection of concerns that people have with this system. Firstly they worry that if their cards get stolen, someone will more easily be able to steal money from them using this system. They could take the card into shops and spend small amounts of money on the card and keep the items for themselves. They also worry that there may be people with card scanners in their bags which will take money off your card as they walk past you, without you even realising.
The cards only allow a certain amount of transactions to be done using contactless before asking for a pin to be entered. This is a security check to make sure that only a small amount of money can be stolen from the card. You could check with your bank to make sure that they do this and find out how many transactions they allow. The transaction amounts are limited to small amounts so that any theft is limited as well.
If you are still concerned then there are things that you can do to protect yourself even more. If you card has been stolen then report it as soon as possible and the bank will cancel it so no more transactions can be made on it. If it is a credit card then it is easier to get back any money stolen on the card, so you could consider carrying this rather than a debit card. Do not leave your card on the edge of your bag or pocket. If it is in a purse or wallet with other things between it and the edge, then it will be harder for any signal to reach the card. Check your statements regularly and if you suspect money has been stolen report it to your bank as soon as possible.
If you would rather not have contactless cards then you may find that some financial institutions will issue cards which do not have this facility on them. Ask and see, starting with your own bank and find out whether there is anyone that can provide this for you. You could leave your cards at home and just use them for online purchases and use alternative ways to pay in shops such as cash and cheques, although many places will no longer accept cheques.
Worrying about things like this is likely to increase with payments being made with mobile phones as well these days. It is likely that they will become more widespread and it could be difficult to avoid them in the future. It is therefore worth making sure that you are aware of everything you can do in order to protect yourself against fraud or theft. You bank should have details available and there is plenty of information online as well.
Unfortunately there will always be risks with carrying any sort of money, whether it is in the form of cash or cards. Cash can be stolen as well as cards and it is easier to spend and harder to trace. At least with a card, once you notice it is missing you can report it and transactions can then be blocked. With a credit card you should be able to get back the stolen money as well, so they may be the safest option even if they have contactless on them.
The wisest thing to do is to keep a close eye on the transactions going through your account. Make sure that you can identify each one as being one that you have made. If there is any that you do not recognise then contact your bank. They may have more details allowing you to more easily remember that transaction or if you know that it was not a transaction that you made, they will be able to deal with it, cancel and replace the card and return the money if they agree that it was not a transaction made by you or any other card holder.
It is good to be careful when using contactless and look after your cards as much as possible to avoid theft. However, stressing about potential theft is not healthy for you and if you are doing everything you can to protect yourself from it, it is sensible to try to forget about it and not worry, if you can. It is easy to say, but harder to do but worrying does not get us anywhere and can even make us ill.