All but one of South Africa’s major banks allow customers to opt-out of tap-to-pay

FNB is the only major bank in South Africa that does not allow customers to disable tap-to-pay on their payment cards.

Although tap and go payment technology for bank cards has been beneficial during the Covid-19 pandemic, many people still have security concerns.

Chris Labuschagne, CEO of the ETF credit card and card platform, Told Wendy Knowler from Cape Talk that the technology is a core feature of their bank cards and cannot be turned off.

“All FNB cards are contactless and the feature cannot be disabled as it is a core product feature,” he said.

FNB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document recommends that customers ask the merchant to swipe or insert their card if they want to use it the traditional way.

MyBroadband contacted leading banks in South Africa for comment. Nedbank, Absa and Capitec did not respond to our questions at the time of publication.

FNB’s head of digital payments, Jason Viljoen, told MyBroadband that contactless payment technology is built into all of the bank’s cards.

He echoed Labuschagne’s advice that security-conscious customers should consider creating a virtual card and linking it to a contactless payment app.

“We encourage our customers to activate a virtual card on the FNB app and link their virtual card to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay as the next evolution in card payment security and convenience” , did he declare.

Other major South African banks, such as Standard Bank, Absa, Capitec and Nedbank, all offer the ability to disable contactless payments on their card.

Some allow customers to disable features themselves.

A Standard Bank spokesperson told MyBroadband that its customers can disable or enable “Tap and Go” at a branch or through their banking app.

“A customer can use the app and the branch to manage Tap and Go settings,” the spokesperson said, adding that the current industry limit for contactless transactions is R500.

Typing to pay over R500 will require the account holder’s PIN to verify the transaction.

According to the spokesperson, Standard Bank customers have embraced the technology, with contactless payments accounting for more than 70% of all physical transactions.

Absa customers cannot disable the feature themselves but can opt out in branch or via the card call center.

Nedbank customers are in a similar situationthe bank asking them to deactivate the functionality in a branch or via its contact center.

However, contactless payments cannot be disabled on American Express cards provided by Nedbank.

Capitec customers can choose whether they want the feature activated when they pick up a new card, then activate or deactivate it via the banking app.

However, Capitec Frequently Asked Questions clarifies that once the feature is enabled or disabled through the app, the customer must use the card at a point of sale or ATM and enter the PIN to complete the process.

Tap-to-pay won’t turn on or off just by using the settings toggle on Capitec’s app.

When it comes to digital banks, the top three players in South Africa provide contactless cards.

Discovery hasn’t specified how to enable or disable the feature, just that their maps ship with the feature enabled by default.

Bank Zero also doesn’t specify how to completely disable the feature, but does offer the option to require a PIN for all contactless payments, regardless of amount.

Tyme Bank told MyBroadband that it does not allow customers to opt-out of tap-to-pay, like FNB.

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