What is all the hype with Contactless Cards?

Posted on August 02, 2023

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With a contactless debit card, making purchases at your favorite retailers takes just a simple tap. Purchases can still be made by inserting or swiping your card, but a contactless card is faster, more convenient, and provides the same security as your current chip enabled card.

What is a contactless card?

With contactless cards, the transaction is completed by simply holding or tapping the card on a contactless-enabled card reader where available. This new technology is faster than swiping or inserting your card and much faster than using cash. It keeps your information secure while keeping your hands off the card reader.

How do you know if your card is contactless?

To determine if your Peoples Bank of Alabama card is contactless, look for the contactless symbol on the card. The symbol is four curved lines that look like the Wi-Fi symbol turned sideways.

How does this contactless card work?

Contactless cards use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. This technology allows the card to communicate with the card reader when the card is held close to the reader during a transaction. Most contactless cards come with an EMV chip, the usual credit or debit card number, expiration date, security code and magnetic strip giving the cardholder every option at checkout.

When you hold your contactless card to the contactless reader, it securely authenticates your card information. Then the merchant’s point-of-sale system sends the transaction to the card issuer, that’s us -Peoples Bank of Alabama. The issuer then analyzes the transaction before approving it. That seems like so many steps, but it usually takes less than a second!

How do you use a contactless credit or debit card?

All Discover®, Visa®, and Mastercard® contactless cards work the same way.

  1. Look for the contactless symbol on the card reader. The four curved lines that appear on your card should also appear on the contactless-enabled card reader.
  2. When prompted, hold the card within one to two inches of the contactless symbol.
  3. If your purchase is approved, you’ll receive confirmation – generally a beep, green light or check mark.

Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll see that it only takes a few seconds to complete the payment process.

Contactless card security

Knowing how to use the card is one thing, knowing whether it’s safe is quite another. Contactless cards are just as secure as chip cards at a chip-enabled register. And, they are even more secure than magnetic stripe payments. Every contactless transaction creates a unique, one-time code or password that helps reduce security risks since the code cannot be used again and can only be read by the card-processing network.

How do I protect my contactless debit card?

You can help protect your contactless card just like you would any other debit or credit card. Learn more about how to keep all of your personal information secure here.

What happens if I lose my contactless card and someone else uses it?

Always report your card as lost or stolen as soon as possible no matter whether it’s contactless or not.

For more information regarding the transition to new contactless debit cards in August - October 2023, visit our contactless debit card page.