Pay and go
Contactless payment technology is becoming more common as this
fast payment method allows you to pay for transactions under $100
by tapping or waving your card. For transactions over $100, you can
still tap your contactless card, but you will also need to enter
your card PIN on the merchant's terminal.
Here we explain how contactless cards work.
How contactless cards work
Your payment card is 'contactless' if it has a radio antenna in
the plastic which transmits information to and from the contactless
Any of the following kinds of cards can be contactless:
- credit cards
- debit cards
- prepaid cards.
They can also be linked to more than one credit or deposit
If your contactless card is a credit card,
transactions will always be drawn from your credit card account -
even if you also have a transaction or savings account linked to
If your contactless card is a debit card,
transactions will be drawn from your transaction or savings
If your contactless card is a prepaid card,
transactions will be drawn from the value you have loaded to that
How you know your card is
Cards with this feature are usually marked with a special logo
or marking like this one:
If you are not sure if your card is contactless, speak to the
Paying by credit or debit
using your contactless card
If you want to make a contactless payment by tapping or waving
your card, you should consider what type of card you're using - a
credit card or a debit card - to make sure you know where your
payment is coming from.
Credit card payments
If you are using a credit card, all your contactless payments
will go onto your credit account, and will need to be paid back as
usual. You may be charged interest if you don't pay back all of the
amounts you borrowed by the date on your credit card statement.
Even if you have linked a savings or transaction account to your
credit card, the contactless payment will go onto your credit
If you want to use your own money from a linked savings or
transaction account instead, you will need to insert your card into
the terminal at the checkout and select 'SAV' or 'CHQ'.
Debit card payments
With a debit card, there is no credit account linked to your
card. Therefore, when using a debit card for a contactless payment,
your payment will be made using your own money in your bank
Contactless payments using
dual network cards
Most debit cards allow you to make a payment using more than one
payment network. Contactless payments with a debit card can be made
using either Visa or Mastercard or through EFTPOS.
These types of debit cards are known as dual network cards.
How will my payment be processed?
Some businesses display a notice at the point of sale explaining
how they process payments.
By default, many businesses currently process contactless
transactions through Visa or Mastercard - even if you're not paying
by credit. This can affect the surcharge you pay on the
Some banks are changing the way contactless payments are
processed, which will allow businesses to:
- choose to process all contactless debit payments through
EFTPOS, rather than Visa or Mastercard
- let you choose how your contactless payments will be processed,
- have different default settings for payments of different
If you want to choose how your payment will be processed, don't
'tap and go'. Instead, insert or swipe your card at the checkout,
then select either:
- 'SAV' or 'CHQ' if you would like to pay by EFTPOS, or
- 'CR' if you would like to pay by Visa or Mastercard.
The money will still come from your bank account, even if the
payment is processed using the Visa or Mastercard network.
Why does the payment network matter?
The network used to process your payment may matter because it
can affect the surcharge you pay.
Also, sometimes different networks run promotions where you are
only eligible for the promotion if your payments are processed by
Always read any signage at the point of sale to find out which
payment network is right for you.
Surcharges on your
Some retailers add a surcharge to the amount of a purchase when
you use a card to make a payment. This is because accepting a
payment in this way costs them more than accepting cash.
Some card payments are more expensive for the retailer than
others. For example, when you choose to pay by credit, it usually
costs the retailer more than when you choose to pay by your savings
or cheque account, so they may add a surcharge.
Retailers must put up clear signage to let you know if you will
be paying a surcharge when you use your contactless card.
If there are surcharges on debit card payments, they are
typically around 0.5% to 1.0%. Not all contactless purchases incur
a surcharge - check with the merchant about whether they add a
surcharge for card payments, and whether the way you use the card
makes a difference to whether a surcharge is added.
One retailer has introduced measures to improve disclosure of
the surcharges it adds to contactless payments in response to
ASIC's concerns. Read the ASIC media release.
Ban on excessive surcharge fees
Businesses are banned from charging excessive payment surcharge
fees on certain debit, credit and prepaid card transactions. This
means a business cannot charge you more than what it actually costs
them to process your payment.
Visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's
website for more information about credit, debt and prepaid card
Problems with your
Be sure to check your account statements closely. If you see any
purchases that you didn't make, contact your card issuer
immediately. If the card issuer is a member of the ePayments Code,
then you will have some consumer protection.
transactions on your bank account for more details.
Speak to your card issuer if you have any
concerns about your contactless card or you want to know more about
the security of this feature.
Last updated: 18 Jun 2018