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Contactless Payments

The cornerstone of our success.

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Contactless Payments

Contactless Payments

Contactless payment has transformed how we pay for products and services – and it has never been quicker or easier. Since the first contactless cards in the UK were introduced in 2007, this method of payment has gone from being virtually non-existent at launch to a near essential.

In July 2019 alone, UK Finance research shows there were 766 million contactless transactions – up 17.6% year-on-year. Now, contactless cards account for half of UK debit card payments and more than a third of credit card payments. It is a figure that is expected to continue growing too.

Part of this rapid growth can be attributed to the many ways in which contactless payments are now possible. Here at PFS, we are committed to offering prepaid products that stay in tune with the needs and expectations of modern consumers. And contactless technology is no different.

What are contactless payments?

Contactless payments are, as the name suggests, just that: contactless. No longer do you need to swipe your card, pay with cash or even carry your wallet or purse. Instead, contactless users can employ a multitude of devices to complete payment, including:

  • Cards
  • Smartphones
  • Smartwatches
  • Key fobs
  • Adhesive tags

It is up to an individual which device they use. All that is required is that a contactless-enabled card or device is hovered above or tapped against a reader – such as a PayPass™ or payWave terminal. This is what accepts and processes the payment: no PIN codes, no signatures.

Contactless Card

How do contactless cards work?

To make payments, contactless-enabled cards contain a small near-field communication (NFC) antenna and a chip that emits a radio signal. Once close to a payment terminal, the reader will use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to pick up the signal and make a payment.

Much like a conventional debit or credit card, the technology allows this chip to communicate with your bank or financial institution via the Mastercard or Visa network. As part of the split-second process, the network checks the data sent from the terminal before approving your transaction.

It really is that simple.

Why might a contactless payment be declined?

If a contactless payment is declined, it could be down to a lack of funds or the failure to activate an enabled card. New rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), however, mean a consumer could find that a contactless transaction is blocked after five successive payments. It is part of efforts to reduce fraud by getting an individual to prove their identity.

This can be done by entering the card PIN or – for other devices – biometric recognition.

How long do contactless payments take to process?

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The process of making a contactless payment is instant, which lets you pay for any products and services without delay. There can, however, be a short period between a transaction and when it shows on a bank or other statement. In the interim, it may display as a ‘pending’ transaction.

How long this takes can depend on the financial institution – but it usually takes up to 4 working days for a processing cycle to complete. During this time, consumers should be aware that funds aren’t yet debited from their account – even though payment was approved for the transaction.

What contactless products do PFS offer?

At PFS, our team is dedicated to creating the most innovative payment card technologies in the UK. As one of the fastest-growing fintech specialists in Europe, our aim is to create the services and products that reflect the needs of consumers and businesses alike.

Part of our ongoing strategy is to offer the most up-to-date technology. We are always working with industry leaders to bring our own contactless solutions to customers. As we invest a great deal in our payment technologies, no-one knows our products better than us.

Prepaid contactless cards

Our prepaid contactless card is the cornerstone of our success. Debit cards are now the leading payment method in the UK, overtaking cash for the first time in 2017. Contactless transactions make up a large part of debit card spending – and that means our prepaid contactless payment solutions provide our customers with the flexibility they not only need, but want too.

This solution gives consumers the freedom to take control of their spending in-store and online at millions of locations worldwide. For more detail, see our prepaid cards to use abroad.

Mobile payment technology

Using your mobile phone and other mobile devices to make contactless payments is no longer a novelty. Payments are increasingly going mobile and we build a number of programmes offering state-of-the-art payment technology solutions to meet the demands of our clients.

Our support technologies include:

  • Wallet solutions supporting NFC and QR code
  • Contactless bridge technologies such as contactless stickers for smartphones (see below)
  • Host Card Emulation (HCE)
  • Tokenisation
  • Wearables including wristbands and key-fobs

Our mobile technology partners include Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

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It is forecast that Google and Samsung, along with Apple, will reach 60% of mobile contactless users around the world by 2023. At PFS, we believe the time to create solutions that are ready to meet this demand with innovative payment solutions is now.

Mastercard PayPass™ enabled adhesive tag

Our Mastercard PayPass™ adhesive tag can be used with any device you choose. While mobile phones are becoming ever more popular for making contactless payments, our adhesive tag is designed to enable any device – no matter how up to date it is – to pay at a checkout.

As the technology is contained within the tag itself, you do not need a contactless-ready mobile phone or fob. Just attach your PFS tag to your chosen device and it will be transformed into a contactless product that is ready to use when you need it.

Why choose Prepaid Financial Services?

At PFS, we are dedicated to creating modern, flexible and non-traditional solutions for today’s payments industry. Our products promote financial inclusion, while providing customers with a range of innovative features. Fast, reliable and completely secure, we serve more than 1,900 corporate clients and operate more than 150 white label programmes worldwide.

Here are some more benefits of choosing PFS for your contactless payment solution:

  • 24/7 secure online accounts: Our contactless cardholders can log in securely to their accounts anytime, anywhere and on any device. Top up your funds, monitor all your transactions and get help when you need it.
  • Higher acceptance rates: You do not need to pass a credit check to get a PFS contactless payment card. This means you can apply with confidence even if you do not have a great credit history. Contactless is not just for people with good credit scores.
  • Global acceptance: Use your contactless payment card in millions of locations wherever you see the Mastercard or VISA logo displayed.
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In addition, our commitment to innovation has seen us become one of Europe’s fastest-growing fintech companies. We have been listed in the Financial Times Future 100 UK for 2018 and also featured as a Digital Technology Award winner at the 2018 RSM European Business Awards.

If you would like to know more about our contactless payment solutions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

What are the benefits of contactless payment?

A payment revolution is now in full flow across the UK. Mobile payments are helping to create a path towards a potential cashless society in the UK. And contactless technology is the engine of this change. It comes with a host of benefits that have now established it as a payment method staple – a quick, convenient alternative to cash or Chip and PIN.

  • Speed: Contactless payment solutions are designed to speed up the checkout process. A contactless payment takes around 13-15 seconds to complete – compared to Chip and PIN (30 seconds) or cash. With no need to enter a PIN or search for cash, all that’s needed is to touch your device against the reader and go.
  • Familiar: By October 2019, 131 million of the 158 million (82%) of debit and credit cards issued in the UK were contactless-enabled. It is also rare to find a business that does not accept contactless payment. It has become part and parcel of our daily lives, from public transport to the weekly shop or the morning coffee.
  • Convenience: Ease of use is an integral part of our programme builds. With a contactless payment solution from PFS, there is no need to remember different PIN codes for several cards and no need to get cash out for a transaction. Forgot or lost your card? No problem – our mobile solutions offer you the same contactless abilities no matter the device.
  • Security: It is not just removing the need to carry cash. There are layers of contactless payment security to protect you. The close proximity of terminal transactions makes it virtually impossible for details to be intercepted. Users can also invest in a contactless cards security wallet to reduce the risk of RFID skimming.
  • Budget management: A common feature of contactless payments is the limits placed on individual or daily transactions. Individual contactless transactions are commonly limited to £30. Meanwhile, the FCA’s new anti-fraud rules will mean a cardholder can only make a set number of contactless transactions (or spend up to a certain amount) per day.

How secure are contactless cards?

As contactless is such a convenient and effortless way to make a payment, it is reasonable to be cautious about how secure your finances are. But this does not need to be a concern. Contactless is no less safe a way to pay for products and services as any other. Indeed, some features make it perhaps even safer than alternative methods – such as cash or Chip and Pin.

When making a payment in-store, contactless solutions incorporate several anti-fraud measures and information sent between the card/device and the terminal is encrypted. As such, fraudsters would find it difficult – if not impossible – to intercept any data that could be used against you.

“Contactless payments are secure for a number of reasons. Advanced security technologies – both on the contactless device and in processing network and systems – are used to prevent fraud. These technologies include industry standard encryption, dynamic data and authentication requirements.” Katherine Rodger, Senior Project Manager – Mobile Payments

If your card is lost or stolen, however, there is a risk it could be used by someone else. In these cases, it is important to remember there is a set limit on how much of your money can be spent by a fraudster before your PIN is needed. You should always report a lost or stolen card as soon as possible – and check your statements for any activity or transactions you do not recognise.

Where can I make contactless payments?

The rapid growth of contactless payment technology means that it is now easier than ever before to find a business that accepts enabled cards or other devices. From coffee shops to convenience stores, high street retailers and supermarkets – contactless payment terminals are commonplace in the UK and abroad.

Both VISA and Mastercard – two of our payment partners – are committed to having terminals in every UK shop that can accept contactless payments by 2020. Some charities, including the Big Issue, have started using ‘tap-and-donate’ terminals too in order to help raise more money.

Using contactless on public transport

In some towns and cities around the UK, it is now possible to use a contactless-enabled card or device to pay for public transport. Transport for London has rolled out contactless travel for bus, tram, rail, boat and London Underground journeys. Metrolink passengers in Greater Manchester can also use contactless payment – removing the need for a separate paper or smart ticket.

How can I find out more about contactless payments?

If you would like to learn more about contactless payment solutions from PFS, please contact us. You can also find out more about contactless payment – as well as our other products – with our Frequently Asked Questions.

It is also possible to apply online for a card from PFS – complete with contactless capability.