Making payments

NFC: the 10 most important questions on contactless payment

INFORMATION
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Simply hold the card or phone in front of the reader: this is henceforth possible with credit cards and smartphones some shops and stores. Source: Aduno

Migros, Coop, Globus and certain Denner now enable consumers to pay without having to place a credit card into a slot. Furthermore, entering a PIN code is not required for small purchases. This is possible with "Near Field Communication", or NFC.

comparis.ch provides answers to the 10 most important questions on this topic:

Does contactless payment work with all credit cards?
No. The credit card must be equipped with an NFC chip. With Mastercard credit cards, this function is called PayPass; with Visa it is known as Paywave. If a credit card is printed with this text or a logo of several radio waves, it supports contactless payment.

Can I also pay with a Maestro card or a Postfinance card?
No, up to now only credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard are equipped with NFC chips.

What does it cost to use?
Migros, Coop, Globus and Denner do not charge customers a fee for paying by credit card, but there are other shops that do.  

Can my credit card be charged if it is in my wallet in my pants pocket and I walk by a cashier?
No. The providers of the technology assure that the card can be read from a maximum distance of 4 cm. It must therefore be placed directly in front of the terminal.

Where else can one pay with NFC credit cards?
Apart from Migros and Coop, this is also possible at K Kiosk shops, McDonald's, various stores and at some ticket machines.

Up to what amount can shoppers pay without having to use a PIN code?
As a general rule, no PIN code is required for purchases up to 40 francs.

Do I have to first deposit an amount on the credit card?
If you receive a monthly billing statement for your credit card, you need not make any payment beforehand.

How secure is contactless payment?
One can make smaller purchases without a signature or PIN code by simply holding the credit card in the hand. The crucial question, however, is whether criminals are able to read the chip when walking by. The providers of the technology insist that it is safe since data is transmitted over only a very short distance of 4 centimetres. Customers also need not be afraid that their card could be charged with other people's purchases near the check-out.

Do I need an extra card?
No. The credit card continues to function with pre-existing technology as well as with the new contactless payment system. An extra card is therefore not needed.

Can I pay with a smartphone?
Smartphones are equipped with the required technology, but only few customers are actually able to make contactless payments with a smartphone. This goes only for Swisscom customers who both own a suitable device, such as a Samsung Galaxy S5, and have a VISA credit card from Cornercard or a special Mastercard from Viseca. Customers furthermore need a special SIM card and the "Tapit" app.