‘Tap-and-go’ at till points

2011-12-13 00:00

WHILE a “small payments” card that literally serves as cash in your hand will help you get through the till points at lightning pace, you should exercise paramount care in ensuring these new “tap-and-go” cards are not stolen.

Absa is the first major South African bank to launch the new consu­mer card and accompanying contactless payment facility for merchants.

The card will hit the market next Monday.

Absa described its OneTouch card as a contactless card that “customers simply wave in front of a secure contactless reader at the point of sale”.

Needless to say, the transaction is completed swiftly.

As an additional security feature, a customer is only able to load a maximum of R1 500 on the card, which is not linked to the customer’s transactional account.

Furthermore, the individual purchase transaction limit is set at R200. The total value loading limitation on OneTouch is R3 000 per month.

Given that no signature or PIN is required, banks have warned that consumers have to be extra careful when using these cards.

Absa’s head of consumer cards, Simon Just, told The Witness that consumers should look after these cards as if they are cash.

“Because certain of these transactions are processed in an offline environment someone in possession of a stolen card can use it,” he warned.

Just said “tap-and-go” payments are an entirely new concept to South Africans.

“A customer will be able to report an Absa OneTouch card as lost or stolen and should do so immediately. A replacement card will be issued and any funds that are reported as still available when the card goes online will be transferred to the new card.”

Standard Bank will launch its version of the “tap-and-go” card in the first quarter of 2012, director of banking products Sugendhree Reddy told The Witness.

She said the chances of these cards being cloned are limited.

However, she warned that customers should exercise extreme care when using and storing the card.

Standard Bank is likely to place a R1 000 “loading limit” on the card. The transactional limit will be R200.

“The background to this is that it is very expensive for banks, merchants and customers to cash cheques. The payment process [for smaller payments] will be much quicker with the new card.”

Given the low transactional limit, merchants likely to introduce the card include those selling fast- moving consumer goods and takeaway outlets and petrol stations.

Nedbank and FNB did not respond to inquiries from The Witness.

• The facility is not linked to the customer’s main account, ring-fencing the risk to them.

• Velocity checks ensure that the same card cannot be tapped multiple times at a till point.

• Unlike normal payment cards, customers should never hand the card to the cashier when making purchase transactions — they keep the card with them and tap it themselves once the amount is entered.

• There is a loading limit of R1 500 and an individual purchase transaction limit of R200. — Supplied.

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