The new card will be on the cutting edge of current card technology,including multiple accounts on the same chip, giving consumers the choice to pay with their own money (debit) or funds made available by their bank (credit). It also includes extended purchasing guarantees for electrical/electronical goods, and Carrefour's loyalty scheme.
I was all in all quite pleased about the prospect of paying using the contactless card, and benefit from increased speed and convenience when checkouting out of Carrefour stores. That is, until I realized that someone had decided to out a max limit of €25 for contactless transactions, which means that I will have another factor to consider when paying my groceries: tap&go or dip&PIN?
Why complicate the process?
Honestly, I am not sure. Security? Could be. Someone in the card organization or the issuer might believe that it is inherently more risky to let me use the convience of a contactless interface.
I don't. Prove me wrong, but I am willing to take the risk. The card issuer should, as well, in my view.
War on cash, then? Well, maybe. MasterCard and Visa have always wanted to replace cash, and they are doing a decent job at it as well. However, the war will not be won by complicating the cardholders' lives.
The limit of €25 has apparently been set based on research indicating that 80% of all cash transactions are below this threshold.
Really? I actually checked out my grocery shopping transactions over the last 6 months, and here is what I found:
- I did 85 supermarket transactions, at an average of €58 per transaction.
- 80% of the transactions were above €25.
- My card payments ranged from a low €10 up to a solid €163.
So what did I miss re. Contactless payments and the imposed €25 limit?
At least not that most of my transactions are above the limit. Neither that I would be less than enthusiastic about contactless if someone imposes usage barriers and complicates my life. Not even the potential confusion at the "moment of truth" when cardholders must choose between tap&go or dip&PIN depending on the amount.
Now, maybe the press release about the new card did not tell the whole story. Maybe the limit only refers to the need for PIN verification of the transaction depending on amount, ie. Allows for contacless transactions without a PIN below €25, and contactless with a PIN code above the limit.
I certainly hope so. Otherwise Carrefour can look forward to some interesting times soon, with confused customers and frustrated employees at the check-out.