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Paywave Zero-Liability Assurance Falls Flat For Hamilton Man

Paywave Zero-Liability Assurance Falls Flat For Hamilton Man

Hamilton, 2 September 2013 – As banks scramble to reassure customers that the recently introduced payWave and Pay Pass technology is both secure and backed with policies of zero liability, in reality the numbers of casualties of the technology is rising and employees carrying payWave enabled company cards are proving equally vulnerable to inadvertent transactions.

Gary Ellice of Hamilton recently received notice from his employer, querying a transaction registered on his company card, his ‘P card’, at Countdown Dinsdale – a transaction Gary is adamant he did not authorise.

“I approached BNZ as soon as I received notice from my employer and I told them that I did not authorise this transaction. BNZ told me however that I can’t dispute the transaction as their records show that my card was ‘presented’. When I asked them to explain, they told me that I must have taken my card out of my wallet and held it closer than 3cm from the reader. I hadn’t done this”

Gary explains that the organisation he works for have strict policies on the appropriate use of company cards.

“[They are] explicit in what is and what isn’t appropriate use of our company card, so apart from this transaction not being authorised, I made sure BNZ understood the gravity of what they were claiming; I felt at that stage that my job was at risk.”

Believing he was getting nowhere with BNZ, Gary then approached Countdown Dinsdale who admitted there has been a number of issues with inadvertent transactions, one of the most recent was the registering of a payment from a payWave card in a woman’s handbag as she walked past another customer who was getting ready to pay. They say they were just lucky to have noticed the transaction and had to chase after the woman to reimburse her as she had continued on unaware.

“BNZ told me that my card couldn’t be read through my wallet and therefore I must have presented my card to register this payment I was disputing. My experience and other customer and merchants stories don’t reflect this”.

Despite BNZ telling Gary his card can’t have been read through his wallet, their website discusses a scenario where the customer chooses to present their card inside their wallet at payment. Of note for those NZ businesses with payWave enabled cards, Visa’s website states that their zero liability policy may not cover certain commercial card transactions.

Valt Co-founder and Technical Advisor, Andreas Vaioleti states that stories similar to Gary’s are not uncommon and that banking customers frustrated with the inability to opt out of payWave, are turning to products like theirs that provide physical protection from stray RFID waves.

“There are different grades of scanners that have the capacity to read contactless enabled cards from a range of distances; what concerns us in the long run, even more than inadvertent or fraudulent transactions, is the demonstrated capacity for identity theft through unauthorised scanning of these cards”.

“At this stage, physical protection for contactless cards is one of the only ways to ensure that people carrying personal or company credit cards are not left at the mercy of their banks liability policy, we hope Gary’s and Gary’s employers unfortunate experience keeps this issue deservedly in the spotlight”.


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