Is contactless payment safe & secure?

Vix Technology On Tram

Is contactless payment safe & secure?

With contactless payments increasing over 150% in the last two years and more than 82% of consumers agreeing it’s a “cleaner way to pay,” the time is now for transit agencies to adapt.  

One of the first questions transit agencies and their funders may have is “Are contactless payments secure?”

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” They are, in fact, safer and more secure than any other form of payment.

How NFC contactless payments work

When you understand the technology behind contactless payments, you’ll see why they are actually more secure than traditional magnetic stripe payments.

  • Magnetic stripes can be cloned

“Card skimmers” are fraudsters who collect the data associated with a magnetic stripe card and create a clone of it. Cards with EMV chips cannot be cloned or duplicated because they are run off an internal computer chip that is difficult to clone and which issues one-time tokens from the bank. Fraud is instantly detected if the chip is not issued from a bank and the transaction will not go through. 

  • The data of contactless payments is encrypted

Using Dynamic Data Authentication and RSA cryptography ensures that only genuine POS systems can process the data on an EMV chip. This means “skimmers” cannot randomly steal the wireless data as they do not have the “key” from a genuine bank-linked POS to unlock the encrypted data.

  • Distance matters

Years back, there was concern that RFID in bank cards could be “skimmed” by fraudsters walking around a mall with an RFID reader collecting the payment information of every person he passed. However, when it comes to the NFC (which is a subset type of RFID), this concern is eliminated in yet another way. NFC radio waves transmit in very short distances of about 1”. The close contact must be purposeful in order to transmit the data, and even then it is unlockable per the encryption process described above.

Dallas Texas Highway at night
Girls looking at phone on train

Leading contactless technology proponents

Perhaps the most accessible argument for the safety and security of contactless payments is the endorsement and requirement of the NFC technology from those who have the highest needs for security.

The U.S. Department of Defense mandates the use of NFC for military ID cards that permit access to highly secured areas. At bases throughout the world, this technology is trusted to protect against global threats and enemies. 

In addition, the inclusion of NFC technology on credit and debit cards comes from a major industry push by “Big 3” credit card companies: Europay, Visa, and Mastercard. These institutional giants know that NFC technology reduces fraud, which is a crime that costs their companies billions of dollars every year.


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How can Vix Technology help?

Vix Technology provides this safe and secure contactless payment technology integrated into our automated fareboxes. In addition to meeting a high consumer demand and providing safe, secure payments, our fareboxes also lower dwelling time, help detect fraud, and speed onboarding.