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Swipe Credit Cards

I was chatting to a waiter yesterday about swipe cards. I said I did not have one because I was concerned about the lack of security.   If I lost the card, or had it stolen. until I cancelled it, for sure it could be used multiply times.

The waiter said he did a test with a customer.    He made out a payment on the card reader machine for 1 cent,  brushed the card machine against the customer.   The card was read and the payment made.


Only a PIN for me

I think you are talking about the newer contactless cards, (e.g Visa PayWave)?  To me, a swipe refers to using the magnetic strip on the back of the card.

I can somewhat understand the concerns, but who really wouldn't notice a card machine being brushed against them?  :lol:

Ok, being more serious...for those with security concerns, an RFID blocking wallet or card sleeve might offer some peace of mind.  Of course, one should be vigilant and verify their account transactions frequently, checking for anything unauthorized.

Depending on the bank, it's possible that a "test" transaction like you described will trigger a fraud alert, and the card will be automatically frozen until you call in to the bank or authorize the charge via online banking.  I've had that happen several times when I've made a small transaction that was out of the ordinary based on my usage patterns.

Romaniac
Expat.com Experts Team

If readers did not understand that I was talking about the contactless cards which have a Wi-Fi symbol on them, I apologise.

I have now  researched this type of card and I see that 'Which'  found that although some banks picked up that a card was being used after 2 or 3 times within an hour, some of their testers ran up over £200 of sending in an hour.

The card readers are fairly small and I have no doubt  (As a former CID Officer) that a thief could easily use one to obtain a confirmation of a transaction without the victim realising. 

That the victim checks his/her account regularly does not eliminate the risk nor ensure that their bank will compensate them.

As I said, with my background, and knowledge of crime and criminals,  I choose not to have such a  card

I agree that there is a potential problem but, to be honest, plastic cards have all sorts of risks. Contactless cards are incredibly useful for lots of people who use them for small and automated payments (unattended tills and the like)

Obviously it's personal choice (at least whilst the banks still produce the non contactless variety) but with bracelets, key fobs and mobile phones now used as payment methods my guess is that very soon it will be take it or leave it.

So much modern technology leaves us open to newer types of theft but when we only had coins and notes there were still risks.

I forgot. I had a Spanish Barclaycard, now WiZink, and they were annoyingly regular in blocking my card. For the 99c purchases from iTunes, for the 500€ purchase from MediaMarkt for the "standing order" to Google pay. Most of my plastic is now temporarily blockable by me using a phone app for those occasions when your card isn't where you thought it was and you panic that it's lost. Swings and roundabouts on the new technologies.

Johncar a question for you as an ex police officer. It's my understanding that only my "bank" or I can authorize a transaction from my account. If someone steals my card and uses it fraudulently then I would argue that as I didn't make the payment the bank must have. In effect, the bank has stolen my money. Would you agree?

The  ‘in theory’ answer is,  your bank are likely to accept the loss. 

That said, you may have difficulty proving to their satisfaction that you were not careless and that you took reasonable care to avoid any theft/fraud.  If you still have the card in your pocket that might be even more difficult to prove.

The fact that one makes a crime report (denunicia) never proves that any theft actually happened, only that someone said it did.

For me the ‘inconvenience’ of tapping in a PIN is worth not being the next guy in the line making a crime report who then must prove to their bank they were not careless or dishonest

To comment on the previous discussiom, my wife and I have experienced mulriple credit card thefts in the US on Chase ot Citibank cards, and in all cases, the loss was assumed by the credit card companies. The most recent one was last fall when about $800 of charges were made on my Citi Platinum card while we were returning to Spain. I am pretty sure this last theft as well as at least one other one were due to the normal practice in the US of giving one's card to a waiter or desk person to swipe or read out of one's sight. Europeans dont do this. I have now adopted the policy of not letting a card be out of my sight, even in the US. I also know that my credit union in the US will cover any loss through fraudulent use, but I rarely use a debit card to cover purchases. In Spain, my Santander bank sends a text to my phone whenever a purchase is made with a number to call if I did not make the purchase. It is almost instantaneous so I am not worried about the above scenario. Although my cards are swipe enabled, they do not always work by swiping and I have to insert them in the reader. Getting everything fixed in one's account, having a card cancelled, and waiting on a credit card is an unpleasant experience, so I enlist in all my credit card companies schemes to avoid fraud, including notifying them on trips.

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