Pay and go
Contactless payment technology is becoming more common as this
fast payment method allows transactions under $100 to be paid for
by a tap or wave of your card. Here we explain how contacless cards
Remember that 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.
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:
- a credit card
- a debit card
- a prepaid card
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.
Transactions will draw from your credit account even if you also
have a transaction or savings account linked to the card.
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 simply tapping or
waving your card, you should think about what type of card you are
using - a credit card or a debit card - to make sure you know where
your payment is coming from.
If you are using a credit card
you should remember that all your contactless payments will go onto
your credit account, and will need to be paid back as usual. If you
don't pay these borrowed amounts back in 30 days, you will be
Even if you have linked a savings or transactions 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 need to insert your card into the
EFTPOS machine at the checkout and select
'SAV' or 'CHQ'.
If you are using a debit card, your payment
will come from your own money in your bank account however you use
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, for
example, when you choose to pay by credit it usually costs the
retailer more than when you choose to pay by savings or cheque and
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.
Some retailers charge between 0.5% to 10% on purchases. Not all
contactless purchases incur a surcharge - you can check with the
merchant if they add a surcharge for card payments, and whether the
way you use the card makes a difference to whether a surcharge is
If you use a contactless card you might not be aware if there is
a surcharge as you are quickly swiping your card and leaving the
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 debit, credit and prepaid card transactions. This means a
business cannot charge a customer more than what it actually costs
them to process a payment.
For more information see credit, debt and prepaid card surcharges
on the ACCC's website.
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. See unauthorised
transactions on your bank account for more details.
You should 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: 04 Apr 2018