What are contactless credit cards?

Contactless credit cards allow you to make credit card payments without having to swipe, dip, or insert your card into a credit card terminal.

Instead, all you have to do is tap your credit card against the credit card reader. Your transaction should be processed instantly, often without even requiring a signature.

How do contactless credit cards work? Each contactless card contains both a chip and the ability to use radio frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) to communicate with credit card readers. Contactless smart cards can be inserted directly into a credit card terminal, or you can place the card against the terminal to activate the chip and make your payment over secure radio frequencies.

How to use a contactless credit card? If you’re making a payment at a credit card terminal that allows contactless or tap-to-pay transactions – and many do these days – all you need to do is tap your card. If you have one today’s best credit cards, you’ll earn the same rewards with contactless payment as you do by swiping or dipping your credit card. Many contactless transactions complete in seconds, giving you more time to finish shopping and get on with your day.

Are contactless credit cards safe?

Contactless credit cards are as secure as any other type of credit card. Thanks to the unique way in which the card communicates with the credit card terminal, contactless transactions can even be Following secure than standard transactions.

Contactless credit card security Not only uses tokenization to turn your credit card number into a random series of alphanumeric characters, but also creates a unique cryptographic code that links your card to the transaction. Both of these measures make it very difficult to hack or steal contactless credit card information.

Some people wonder if they might accidentally make payments with their contactless credit card. If you’re behind someone in the checkout line, for example, could your contactless card suddenly activate and pay for the other person’s groceries? Since contactless credit cards can only communicate with card readers from a distance of two or three inches, you don’t have to worry about accidentally making payments.

Others wonder if they should invest in RFID protection, like a wallet designed to block RFID frequencies. Do not worry. RFID credit cards already have several layers of security built into them. And although you can buy RFID-proof purse or wallet if you want one, you’d better use other methods of prevent credit card fraud, such as reviewing your credit card statements and sign up for mobile fraud alerts.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of contactless credit cards?

Contactless credit cards give you the ability to make fast, easy and secure payments by contacting your card with a credit card terminal. Many contactless credit card transactions can be completed without having to let go of your credit card or touch the card terminal with your hands. Plus, tap-to-pay transactions are often faster than transactions where you swipe, dip, or insert your credit card into a card reader.

Unfortunately, not all card readers offer contactless technology yet. Even when a card terminal offers contactless payment, the transaction may not always be successful and you may have to swipe or insert your credit card in the traditional way. Likewise, if you’re hoping to use contactless payment to avoid hitting a card terminal completely, be aware that some retailers and card issuers may still require you to use the credit card terminal to sign your purchase.

That said, more and more credit card terminals allow consumers to make contactless payments, fewer contactless transactions require signatures, and the tap-to-pay process continues to run more smoothly.

Are contactless credit cards the same as tap-to-pay?

Contactless credit cards are exactly the same as tap-to-pay. If you see a credit card (or credit card terminal) described as “Tap to Pay,” it refers to contactless credit card technology.

Contactless credit cards and tap-to-pay cards also use the same symbol: a series of four expanding curved lines. Look for this icon, which looks a bit like a side WiFi icon, on your credit card. This way you will know if your credit card has contactless capabilities.

Which credit card issuers offer contactless cards?

American Express

More American Express Credit Cards are contactless, including its co-brands Delta Air Lines Cards. If your American Express card has not been upgraded to a contactless card, you can request a contactless version.

Bank of America

Bank of America began issuing contactless credit and debit cards to consumers in 2019. If your Bank of America Credit Card is not contactless, call the number on the back of your credit card to request a replacement.

Bank of America® Custom Cash Rewards credit card last update on 03/05/21

A capital letter

Numerous Capital One Credit Cards are now contactless, including its Savor and Quicksilver credit cards. Capital One also offers a contactless debit card for consumers with a 360 Checking account.

chase away

The majority of Chasing Credit Cards are now contactless, including Chase co-branded products Southwest Airlines Credit Cards and United Airlines Credit Cards. If your Chase credit card has not been upgraded to a contactless version, you can request a replacement.


To select Citi Credit Cards are now contactless, including Citi co-branded products American Airlines Credit Cards.


Discover offers contactless credit cards to most Discover it® and Discover More® cardholders. If you have a Discover the credit card and did not receive a contactless version, you can request a contactless card-But be aware that contactless credit card options are not available for all Discover cards.

Wells fargo

Wells Fargo began issuing contactless credit cards in 2019. New cardholders will automatically receive a Wells Fargo Credit Card, and existing cardholders will receive contactless cards when their current credit card expires. If you want to apply for a contactless card right away, call the number on the back of your card. Wells Fargo also offers contactless debit cards.

At the end of the line

You might already have a contactless smart card in your wallet – many of us do, thanks to recent contactless card deployments. More and more consumers are choosing to make contactless payments, and the combination of the speed, ease of use, and security of contactless credit cards has made tap-to-pay an extremely popular payment option.

Information about the Wells Fargo Platinum Card (Wells Fargo Platinum Card is no longer available), Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card, Citi Prestige® Card, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Wells Fargo Card Propel American Express® were independently collected by Bankrate.com. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

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