Banks are anxious to get everyone using contactless debit cards, despite the proven problems of accidental charging and high fraud risk, so that their marketeers can collect valuable information on their customer’s spending habits, to be sold on.

An editorial piece by Ross Clark in the Daily Mail – “Creepy reason banks want us all to have ‘tap and pay’ cards” – pointed out the ease with which researchers at Which? magazine were able to obtain a card reader, place it where someone’s wallet would pass within a few centimetres of it and then use the name and card number collected to buy a £3,000 television set, despite assurances from the banks that the maximum anyone would be able to take was £20.

Also mentioned were the flood of complaints received by Marks and Spencer when their customers paid cash but still had the amount deducted from their contactless card as well. And Transport for London had to deal with irate passengers who found their Oyster card, when in contact in their wallet or purse with their contactless card, was charging them the maximum fare when they touched in and their contactless card was doing the same as they touched out, turning a £3 journey into an £18 one.

Spending habit data collected from credit and debit card purchases has always been sold on and used to better target telephone sales and junk mail campaigns, and the data from contactless sales is also a saleable item, so the more people the banks can get using their cards the more profit they will make.

Question is, with their track record do they deserve it? And do you feel inclined to help them?

(Note. Those who don’t can request, like the writer, that the contactless card sent is destroyed and replaced by the traditional one)

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