Contactless payments, or NFC as it’s otherwise known, has taken off slowly but surely around the world. The adoption rates in the UK have been rather high and in UAE citizens are incredibly keen on the idea of contactless payment technologies.
However, it seems as if that bubble could burst in the UK if consumer fears aren’t stemmed.
Reports have come from Marks & Spencer customers who claim that they’ve had money taken off their NFC enabled card at the till point when they were paying with another card in the device.
The two customers who complained and issued a statement to the BBC’s Money Box programme said that their NFC-enabled cards were in their purses, which were held in their other hand away from the card reader.
Marks & Spencer say that they’ve had five complaints of such unintentional payments since their devices rolled out last year.
Currently Marks & Spencer are the country’s leader in accepting contactless payments, having rolled it out to all 644 UK stores, taking more than 250,000 payments a week with the technology.
Sandwich chain Pret a Manger have also had claims made to them about NFC devices picking up NFC enabled cards when they weren’t near a device.
All of those affected state that their cards were held further away than the two inches needed to activate NFC payments on card readers.
This does beg the question of how many others this could have affected without their knowledge, and it’s a sticky situation for the widespread adoption of NFC payments.
While the maximum spend by NFC is only £20 in most places, it’s a trend that could damage how people perceive the payment method.
A Marks & Spencer spokesperson defended their rollout of the technology, stating its reliability and safety, by saying:
We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers following the introduction of contactless which helps make payments quicker and more efficient for transactions under £20.
“We’ve tested the system extensively and it is robust and fit for purpose. Almost 250,000 transactions a week are now taking place in M&S stores on Contactless.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this debacle effects the consumer view of NFC over the coming year.
Do you think NFC is safe and reliable enough to become completely widespread?
How could the card payments have been taken from such a distance?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.