Contact us | Membership Enquiries 0800 028 0245 | Search

Contactless payments: Q&A

Contactless payments can improve customer experience and help reduce your costs. They can operate seamlessly alongside your existing terminals and other ways of taking payments, whether by cash, cheque or card. Contactless payments are a good alternative to cash payments. Around 96% of the value of consumer cash payments is made up of amounts for under £45.

So, whether you are considering accepting contactless payments, or you already accept contactless payments, this Q&A should cover off any remaining questions you and your staff have.


Staff Q&A

Q1: What if a PIN is requested?
A. The terminal will occasionally ask customers to insert their card. When this happens, you should just carry out a normal chip & PIN transaction. Let the customer know they should have no problem using contactless next time.

Q2: What if a customer requests a receipt?
A. Contactless receipts are optional (except for higher value payments) but you should provide one if the customer asks. To print an additional customer receipt, tear off the retailer copy, press ENTER to return to the ready screen and press the button to print the customer receipt. Note: if your terminal does not give you a receipt option, press the key at the READY prompt. Make sure you do this before the next transaction.

Q3: Can customers add a tip to a contactless transaction?
A. Yes – if your terminal has the capability, but make sure it’s added before the device is presented. If the bill comes to more than £45, the transaction will either have to be processed as a higher value contactless payment (if a mobile device or similar), or a chip & PIN transaction (if a card).

Q4: Can I give a refund with the contactless terminal?
A. Refunds may be processed through contactless cards and devices by using the contactless reader to capture the card details.

Q5: Can I offer cashback with contactless transactions?
A. Cashback can be offered with a contactless transaction purchase. As the cashback is likely to push the amount over the £45 contactless limit, this will probably only take place on a device that includes customer verification, such as a smartphone.

Q6: Can I accept contactless cards issued outside the UK?
A. Yes – as long as you accept cards from the card payment scheme, you can accept payments from any card with the Contactless Indicator.

Q7: Will I be able to accept new contactless payment devices, such as mobile phones or wearable devices?
A. Yes, as long as they have been activated by the customer.

Q8: What happens if a contactless payment is declined?
A. The terminal will notify the customer that their payment has been declined. You should then ask the customer to complete their payment using another contactless card or device, or with a chip & PIN card.

Q9. Could someone unknowingly make a transaction as they walk past a reader?
A. No. The retailer must have entered the amount for the customer to approve first, and then the card or device has to be held within 4cm of the terminal for a few seconds.

Q10: Is there any chance that payments could be taken twice from a customer’s account?
A. No. Contactless terminals are only able to make one transaction at a time. As a safeguard, each transaction must be complete or void before another can take place. If two cards/devices or more are presented at the same time, the terminal will recognise that there had been a card clash and no transaction will be processed.

Q11: Could the customer’s card details be intercepted during a payment?
A. Contactless only works when a card or device is within a few centimetres of the card reader. This makes it virtually impossible for any details to be intercepted while in use. While a contactless card reader can interrogate a card provided it is within 4cm of the card, it will only release the same information that is displayed on the front of the card. A fraudster would find it very difficult to use this information elsewhere, and it  couldn’t be used to make a cloned card. In the case of fraud, cardholders are protected and have the right to a refund for any unauthorised transaction, as long as the card issuer has been notified.

The UK Finance Guide for Retailers: Accepting contactless and higher value contactless payments gives retailers guidance on best customer experience and staff training.

Read the full guide

Additional Guidance and Resources: 

Bira Coronavirus Hub & free temp membership 

5-step Guide to COVID-Secure Reopening

Risk Assessment and checklist 

Bira Legal for employment law, health and safety and commercial advice 

Ellis Whittam Corona Hub 

The Importance of Multi-channel Selling