Contactless card payments increase: how to stay safe & manage your money

October 29, 2021 • Lewis Goldsbury

Thanks to contactless cards, making payments has never been easier – or faster, for that matter. We live in a paperless world whereby the tap of a card, we can quickly pay for our weekly food shop, a coffee or an impulse buy. And with the contactless card limit increasing to £100 on the 15th of October, your bank account may be at risk of experiencing a couple of financial frights this Halloween.

There are two main reasons the increased limit is a potential cause for concern: overspending and fraud. Though contactless payments are convenient, the ease of spending can put those who already struggle to budget in danger of further debt.

And to make matters worse, if cards are stolen, thieves can easily spend up to £300 before needing verification. Contactless card payments accounted for just 2.8% of card fraud in 2020 – however with the easing of lockdown restrictions in 2021 and beyond, this figure could easily increase.

Looking to navigate your way through our contactless world? Here are our top tips to avoid overspending on contactless cards and keeping your plastic safe.

Big food shop

In order to avoid overspending at the supermarket, it’s time to revert back to old-school ways of doing things. Since the introduction of contactless cards, it’s easier than ever to nip into the shop and buy something without really even thinking about the expenditure. As a result, the big weekly shop has become obsolete for many households.

If you don’t already do your bulk of food shopping weekly, perhaps it is a good idea to do so. Weekly shops will not only save you from going to the supermarket so often but will also help reduce unplanned expenses here and there that quickly add up. If you create a weekly shopping list and stick to it, budgeting will become much more manageable. At the end of each week, you will be able to see how much you’ve spent and how much you have left to either move over to next week or put in savings.

Carry cash

Speaking of shopping, it’s also a good idea to carry small amounts of cash when out and about. By limiting your weekly or daily spending to what’s in your wallet or purse, you’re less likely to make impulsive purchases. Having a more tangible way of paying will certainly make you think twice before going to the till to checkout.

Of course, wallets are not bottomless pits. And no matter how well off you are, you can only store so many tenners. So this is a practical way to become more mindful about what you spend. Plus, by carrying cash around, you’re less likely to call on your contactless card to ghost bust your impulsive shopping.

Keep receipts

Another good way to track your spending is by keeping receipts. This will give you a better idea of what you spend. Moreover, this will come in handy if you ever forget what you’ve spent and where you’ve spent it at the end of each month. Also, you can check if you’ve been mischarged for anything.

To ensure your receipts are in order, invest in a filing system so you can organise your monthly or weekly outgoings. If that’s too old school for you, try writing your expenses down on your phone or ask for email receipts when available. That way, you can save some storage space by filing your receipts in a folder on your phone. Not to mention, you will always have access to them when you’re out and about.

Turn on mobile-banking notifications

Smartphones are not just great for taking selfies or checking your Facebook feed. They can also help you spot fraudulent activity. If you have a mobile banking app, it might be a good idea to turn on your notifications.

Every time a transaction is made using your card, you will be notified. If a transaction is made that didn’t come from you, you can notify your bank immediately. This means that your card will be cancelled faster, preventing fraudsters from making the most out of that £100 limit.

Not only this, but you are more likely to have your money refunded in the event of fraud the quicker you are able to act. Most banks are happy to protect you from contactless payment fraud in the same way as traditional PIN payments. Provided that you haven’t been negligent with your contactless card, you will not be liable for fraud on your account.

If you don’t have access to internet banking, you can phone your bank to hear your transactions and remaining balance.

Special wallets

Where is the best place to keep your plastic? Of course, it’s important to make sure it is not obvious or visible. For those looking for extra protection, radio-frequency identification (RFID) blocking wallets may be a good option.

RFID blocking wallets are designed to prevent thieves from scanning cards and retrieving data. However, it is very unlikely that a criminal will be able to get close enough or have access to your card for long enough to carry this out. As a cheaper alternative, wrapping your cards in tin foil should also help do the trick.

Remember, keep your card close to you or in a safe place when not in use. It might be a good idea to only take your plastic out of the house when you know you’ll need it.

Read our blog for more budgeting tips to help you better manage your money and follow us on social media for finance tips every Friday. Just search @fairforyoucic on Facebook & Instagram.

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This entry was posted in Finance and Budgeting Tips
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