If you’ve ever seen someone pay for their morning coffee with a simple tap of their credit card, you likely understand the appeal of a contactless credit card. Paying with a quick tap, instead of having to use a chip reader or swiping through seems so seamless and easy. But is it as simple as it looks? For the most part, yes — but consider these five facts about contactless credit cards.

1. Contactless Credit Cards May Be a More Convenient Way to Pay

A contactless credit card is a quick and easy method to pay for purchases. But a contactless option is an additional feature — it doesn’t eliminate the option to swipe or use a chip. Since not all retailers offer contactless options yet, you can still pay via chip or swipe. If a retailer does offer contactless payment options — which you’ll know by asking the merchant or seeing the contactless symbol on the credit card reader — you can simply tap your card, wait for confirmation and be on your way.

Contactless card readers are offered at shops, restaurants and public transportation systems, among other places, so it’s likely you’ll have ample reason to use your contactless credit card throughout your day. As with any credit card, you are still eligible to earn credit card rewards for your purchases, which will show up on your monthly statement.

2. Contactless Credit Cards Provide Chip-level Security

Adopting a new type of technology can be unsettling. After all, how does contactless technology work? Contactless payments are transactions that use Near Field Communication (NFC). To complete a transaction, these payments do not require a physical connection between your device and the participating merchant’s checkout terminal.

When it comes to credit card security, you should know that a contactless credit card provides the same level of security you’re used to receiving with chip payment options. In some cases — perhaps if a charge is above a certain dollar threshold — merchants may ask for a signature as an additional verification method. As always, it’s a good idea to check your statements carefully to make sure there’s no unusual activity.


3. Contactless Credit Cards Operate Like “Traditional” Credit Cards

A contactless payment option may be new, but it’s still a credit card. Which means you can use it just as you would a chip card, at the store, online or over the phone. Just like a traditional card, it comes with a credit card number, expiration date and CVV code — so it’s important that you keep your credit card secure at all times. If you suspect your card has been lost or stolen, or you think someone else may have gained access to your credit card information, alert your credit card company right away to get a replacement card.

4. Features to Keep in Mind When You Pay Through Contactless Tech

Contactless payment systems are a simple way to pay on the go — but it can be possible for contactless technology to pick up and “read” a nearby credit card. Contactless payment systems only work if your card is very close to the reader, meaning you don’t have to worry about accidentally paying for someone who’s standing ahead of you buying a latte. But the technology could be triggered if you keep the contactless card along with other credit cards in a wallet that you hold to the reader. Being mindful of your contactless cards can help ensure that you’re using only the card you mean to select for a particular purchase.

If your credit card transaction is declined, the merchant will typically give you the option of paying via chip or swipe. If the card transaction is still declined, there may be a problem with your card. Contact your credit card issuer to troubleshoot the issue.

5. You May Already Be Eligible for a Contactless Credit Card

As contactless technology becomes mainstream, more credit card issuers are automatically issuing cards with an option for contactless payment. If you haven’t received one yet, reach out to your credit card issuer to ask about options, and see if it’s possible to get a new card with contactless technology. You don’t need to open up a new account to take advantage of contactless technology and, depending on your credit card issuer, you may be able to request a contactless card right away. If the option is available, your card will be issued with the same number and CVV code. But not all cards include contactless options, so it’s best to check in and ask with your credit card issuer.

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