When it comes to FinTech, any new innovation is always celebrated but one hardly hears discussions around security. One such innovation is NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled wristbands, cards, and smartphones used for payments.
How these typically work, like the ones introduced by Safaricom in Kenya, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay in South Africa, is that the Point of Sale (POS) device would have an NFC reader built-in. While on the other, the card, smartphone or wristband you use to make payment will also have an NFC reader. When making payment, especially with a NFC enabled card, or tap to pay as they are sometimes referred to, all you have to do is hold the card a few centimeters away from the POS device or tap it to pay.
As you can see and have probably experienced, this reduces the time it takes to make a payment as it requires no PIN or any further input from the card holder. Payments can even be made by just hovering once physical wallet, containing the NFC enabled card, over the close to the POS device.
NFC Point of Sale payments scam
Given how easy it is to make payments and how NFC enabled credit cards they require no user input, they present a security risk. The major risk being that were someone to get hold of your card, they could go on a shopping spree.
The other risk, as demonstrated in the video below, is one where someone with an NFC enabled POS device could just walk up close enough to you and initiate transactions by just bringing close to where your card is. Of course, as much as it is a risk, it would be easy to trace the transaction back to a specific POS device.
Just keep your card safe.