Contactless payment cards or ‘tap to pay’ as we call them, are cards that communicate with a Point of Sale terminal using wireless technology. The drive towards a cashless economy has been on for a long time. While people share their concerns on money notes aiding in the spread of the coronavirus, most banks in Ghana have started embracing contactless cards as an alternative medium for transactions.
From late last year, banks such as Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank), Absa, Fidelity, ADB among others, started embracing the contactless cards in their mode of operations but other banks are yet to do so.
How the contactless cards work
A contactless card is a fast, easy and secure way to make digital payment. A customer has to get close to the Point of Sale (PoS) terminal or ATM and tap the contactless card on it to initiate payment. Customers do not have to swipe or insert their contactless cards. There is an embedded antenna inside the contactless PoS or ATM that makes a connection with the terminal. A lighted beep will indicate whether the transaction has been processed or not.
The limit for a contactless transaction varies from bank to bank. The limit for a contactless transaction at GTBank, for instance, is Gh¢ 50 per tap. This means if you have a bill of Gh¢ 200.00 to settle, you will have to tap on the PoS terminal 4 times. Alternatively, you have to insert your contactless card into the PoS terminal and enter your pin if you have to make payment of more than Gh¢ 50.
In a recent publication by MasterCard, Blake Rosenthal, Executive Vice President and Head of MasterCard Acceptance Solutions said, “Contactless offers consumers a safer, cleaner way to pay, the speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity at this critical time.”
Contactless transactions are highly secured because they only function when placed at a distance of four centimetres near the activated terminal, putting the customer always in control of their transactions. A pin is not required for small purchases. However, if a customer is effecting payment with a smartphone, a four-digit verification code or biometrics will be required.
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