Published on May 31st, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


What is the secret behind the technology of contactless cards?

Despite all the innovation, technology is often beset with a lack of awareness. Not many users of the latest gadgetry fully comprehend how it all works, which can be concerning. After all, no one should be blindly using all the latest products, and should at least have a mild understanding of what the latest creations do.

Take contactless cards for example. The leap from credit cards to contactless cards has been incredibly stark and sudden, but not everyone has paused to reflect – or to also think about how things might pan out in the future.

Consequently, let’s explore this train of thought further below.

How contactless cards work

Certainly, many people these days are taking their financial security more seriously. After all, there’s numerous fraudsters out there who’re ever keen to take every penny hardworking people have. We’re also checking our own impulses more, utilising basic bank account services to help reign in our worst spending habits and get back on track with our spending. It’s all positive.

Contactless cards are contributing in their own way too. This is achieved through their design, as each card is fitted with a smart microprocessor chip and antenna, both of which are built into the plastic and work in tandem with one another. The chip stores the card holder’s data, and the antenna relays it through radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to whatever compatible point of sale device or reader that the shopkeepers own through cryptographic communication. The chips themselves can’t be adjusted or replicated, which obviously makes every transaction safer.

There are no PIN numbers and, typically, most of the transactions made are under £30. Therefore, they’re currently designed mostly for easy and speedy purchases, much to the convenience of the user!

What does the future hold?

It’s undeniable that using a contactless card is easier than routing around in wallets or typing in PIN numbers. In fact, today more people have come around, with a recent upsurge in users now trying out contactless cards for themselves. Therefore, the demand for this technology to progress even further is certainly there as it enters mainstream usage.

Today, they’re only used for low value purchases, but they could potentially be used for higher value purchases as the years go by. Additional security features would likely need to be implemented to prevent theft of what could potentially be a lot more money than contactless cards allow today, but still, the use of these cards is growing, and their capabilities will likely climb in accordance with their popularity.

Contactless payments made through phones, key fobs, watches and wristbands are also occurring in greater numbers today, so we could even see a gradual transition away from the cards themselves. Cash is already experiencing that hit, as last year hundreds of cash machines closed in the UK as a direct consequence of the rising popularity of contactless payments. In the end, this trajectory of change is far from over!

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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