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Last Updated : Apr 20, 2020 03:37 PM IST | Source:

How to make safe money transactions while buying essentials

Customers need to be vigilant against fraudsters who are on the look-out to exploit the current situation and play on the anxiety of people

Sujay Vasudevan

We are living in uncharted times, when the notions of speed, convenience, and safety are being redefined. Finding the balance between the need to protect ourselves and the need to interact with our communities to maintain our daily lives is the challenge faced by everyone across the world. Achieving this balance means raising awareness of the choices we have in every interaction. This includes how we choose to pay – whether by using hard cash, touching a POS machine when sliding or inserting a card, or going contactless with a card or mobile device.

Between health care workers and the drivers taking them where they need to go, between teachers still needing supplies and couriers delivering goods to their schools, between parents managing daily routines with kids in tow and cashiers ringing up their groceries, hundreds of physical transactions still need to happen, be they within our vicinity or across borders, even at times as unusual as now.


In recent times, a sharp rise has been seen in the number of digital payments. Listed below are a few ways in which instruments such as contactless cards on PoS terminals, and mobile payments are enabling consumers to pay conveniently for their purchases, while maintaining the necessary social distance.

Clean & Hygienic: When you make payments using your contactless debit or credit card, you do away with exchange of physical currency – It is proven that notes and coins can carry germs and frequent change of hands increases the risk of spreading those germs. A contactless card does not need to leave your hands and you don’t need to enter a PIN for transactions up to Rs 2000 either.

Convenient & Fast: While shopping for your essentials, fumbling for cash or waiting to get a receipt can be time consuming. Rather, simply tap your card on the card machine and you are ready to go, making your purchase experience seamless and convenient. Look for the ‘contactless payment’ symbol and on the card machine as well.

Safe & Secure: Contactless cards work with EMV secure chips and each contactless transaction includes a unique code that changes with each purchase to ensure that your details and transactions are secure. Even if you tap your card more than once for a single purchase, the transaction only takes place once, keeping you covered from unintended usage. Transactions above Rs 2000 will only go through once you dip your card and enter the PIN.

Instant Alerts: Instant SMS alert for every transaction keeps you notified of your card’s usage at all times. While transacting through contactless cards, you are always in control as you don’t need to hand over the card at the payment counter.

Even though the payment flows are equipped with several cyber security features to safeguard consumers’ interest, customers need to be vigilant and stay guarded against fraudsters who are on the look out to exploit the current situation and play on the anxiety of people. Keeping this in mind, it is important that the consumers stay vigilant on the following points:

 Don’t share OTPs and other payment details freely: This is something that should not be done at any given point in time and more so now. Sharing of credit card or debit card numbers, ATM PINs or OTPs over a phone call, text or emails should be completely avoided.

Spot and avoid phishing mails: It has been noticed that fraudsters have been sending text messages and emails to the general public in the disguise of public health advisory. It is important to not open links and attachments in these mails, as they could contain malware that could give hackers access to your device and any information that is stored or accessed through it.

Be proactive: Update your contact details with your bank as soon as they change. Contact your bank as soon as you get an alert of a transaction you do not recognize.  Install antivirus on your devices and scan frequently for malware. Educate your friends and family members on staying safe in this increasingly connected world.

(The writer is Vice-President, Cyber & Intelligence Solutions, South Asia, MasterCard)

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First Published on Apr 20, 2020 09:04 am
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