The coronavirus pandemic has changed the ways in which we all operate our businesses. When a lockdown was initiated, back in March, most Canadian entrepreneurs began working from home. Many still do. For those that are back in the office, numerous changes have been made in order for them to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocol.
Among those changes is having limited people in the office and/or place of business at any one time. In addition, mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing have become the norm. We’ve even changed the ways in which we pay for purchases. As you’re surely aware, credit card payments had their “tap to pay” limits increased from $100 to $250, back in April. This allows many more purchases to be made in contactless ways.
By eliminating the need to punch in PIN codes for purchases up to $250, Canadian consumers avoid having to touch POS terminals that countless other people have touched.
According to Helen Racanelli on MoneySense.ca, they are more popular than ever. More than half of purchases made in the months following March’s lockdown were made through contactless payments.
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless spending accounted for 52.5% of all credit and debit transactions in Canada in April, May and June of 2020,” Racanelli reports, “The growth of Interac Flash use (as a percentage of total Interac Debit transactions) has almost doubled the normal growth rate in the pre-COVID period of November to March, with June seeing a 9 % increase compared to March of this year, even though the Interac tap limit remained at $100.”
Some people believe that the higher “tap to pay” limits may increase fraud. After all, if lost or stolen cards get into the hands of fraudsters, they can make purchases of up to $250 without PIN codes. Thankfully, Mastercard and Visa do not hold their cardholders liable for fraudulent charges.
“Let’s say you have a Visa credit card from RBC,” poses Racanelli, “In the event of a fraudulent transaction, neither you, the consumer, nor the merchant where the fraudulent transaction was made would be out of pocket. Instead, the issuer—in this theoretical case, RBC—would assume liability.”
Not at all. In fact, Interac reports that card fraud losses remain at record low levels. In 2018, many Canadian consumers fell victim to skimming. Skimming is a type of fraud that involves a gadget installed at an ATM. It can also be disguised as a point-of-sale terminal at a retailer. It copies your card’s magnetic strip and PIN. In 2019, fraud, as a result of skimming, fell 45 percent from the previous year.
“According to Interac, this decline is a result of the industry’s investment in security features such as EMV-based secure chip processing, which protects against skimming, counterfeiting and electronic pickpocketing,” Racanelli informs.
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