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Why your contactless payments might not be working

If you own a debit or credit card (and chances are rather high that you do), you’re likely to have made payments using these cards contactlessly.

Contactless payments represent billions of transactions across Europe, and there are indications that this method of payment is only set to rise by the end of the decade. 

Sometimes, however, there may be instances when you find that your contactless payment has not been accepted.

What are the possible reasons for this?

Let’s take a closer look.

Why is my contactless card not working?

If your contactless card is not working, it might be because there are insufficient funds in your account or you’ve reached your daily spending limit. If this is not the case, try swiping the card or using the chip on the card instead. You might simply be required to enter your Chip&PIN for safety reasons.

In fact, according to European payments directive, PSD2, and its latest requirements, you will be asked to enter your PIN when you make five consecutive contactless transactions or when your total single purchase amount exceeds £137 within a 24-hour cycle.

This is due to security standards that aim to ensure there is reduced fraud by fraudsters who might have gotten hold of your card without your knowledge and permission.

Other reasons your card might be declined

  • A brand new card that needs a Chip&PIN to activate the contactless payment option: if you’ve just received your brand new debit or credit card, you’ll need to activate it the first time you use it and that’s why you’ll be asked to enter a Chip&PIN. It should be smooth sailing afterwards. If it’s not working at all, make sure that you check the ‘Valid From’ date and see if it’s active.
  • The card you’re trying to use has expired: Check the expiration date on your card and make sure that it’s still active. If it’s not, you will need to reissue a new one and use cash or another card for the time being.
  • Your card is physically damaged: a lot of nanotechnology goes into the creation of debit and credit cards and they can easily be damaged by water ingress, excess sunlight or other natural and man-made elements. They are relatively fragile and that’s why it’s advisable to keep your card in a safe and secure place that’s out of reach of others (this is an important safety tip, too). If your card is damaged, you should contact your card provider and request a new one in order to be able to utilise it effectively in the future. Most service providers offer new cards free of charge, although it’s always a good idea to double check this.
  • The card machine on which you’re trying to pay doesn’t support contactless payment methods: this is another common problem related to contactless payments. The merchant who you’re making a purchase from simply doesn’t have a POS terminal that supports contactless payments. This is why it’s a good idea to check with them prior to making a purchase.
  • You’ve reached your daily limit: another reason your card might be declined is due to you reaching your personal daily spending limit. These limits are put in place by financial institutions to ensure you manage your funds more effectively. It also adds an extra layer of protection and security. Luckily, with myPOS, you can adjust your daily limits by simply opening your myPOS mobile app and changing the necessary settings.
  • The card has been flagged for fraud: This can happen if somebody is trying to use your card details to process transactions abroad or if you’re travelling and using your card without alerting your bank. As a security measure, the issuer may recognise the transaction as fraudulent and freeze your account in order to prevent further card frauds. If this is the case, you can call the customer service of the bank, verify yourself and quickly sort it out.
  • You’ve reached your credit limit: This only applies if you use a credit card. The credit limit is usually based on your credit score and history, among other factors. When you reach that limit, your card will be declined. Depending on the bank you’re using, you might be able to request a credit limit increase, however, if you’re frequently reaching this limit, you should definitely look into how you spend your money and avoid increasing your debt.
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Stay aware and informed

Although it may be unpleasant to have your contactless payment declined, it is most likely the result of one of the situations we described above. 

There’s often a simple and logical reason for declined payments, you just need to be aware of the various possibilities for this.

In this blog post, we’ve covered some of the reasons why your contactless card might not be working in some instances.

Armed with these details, you can now make safer and more informed contactless purchases.

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