Contactless Cards FAQ


What is tap-to-pay?

Tapping to pay uses short-range wireless technology to make payments between a contactless card and a contactless-enabled checkout terminal. When you tap your card near the contactless symbol, your payment is processed within seconds.

What do the following symbols mean? card acceptancecontactless spot

card acceptance Indicates acceptance. When featured on a card, it means the card may be used to tap-to-pay. When featured on store signage, it means the merchant accepts tap-to-pay.

contactless spot Indicates where to tap your contactless chip card or payment-enabled mobile/wearable device on the checkout terminal to make a payment.

How do I use contactless payments at a checkout terminal?

Simply hold a contactless-enabled device (e.g. Visa debit card, cell phone or smartwatch) about two inches from the checkout terminal for about two seconds.

Can I still swipe or insert my contactless card at the checkout terminal?

Yes. You may still swipe or insert your contactless chip card instead of tapping to pay.

Is tapping to pay safe?

Yes. Here’s why:

  • Each contactless chip card carries the same trusted security as a Visa contact chip card.
  • The one-time code generated every time a contactless chip card or payment-enabled mobile/ wearable device is used at an in-store contactless-enabled terminal protects your payment information, making it highly effective in reducing counterfeit fraud.
  • You can’t pay accidentally — your contactless chip card or payment-enabled mobile/wearable device must be within two inches of the terminal for the transaction to take place. And you won’t be billed twice, even if you accidentally tap twice.
  • Tapping to pay with your Visa contactless chip card or payment-enabled mobile/wearable device helps you avoid touching surfaces at checkout.

If I swipe a contactless card, am I still fully protected?

No. A card must be inserted or tapped at a chip- or contactless-enabled terminal for enhanced security.

I heard people can “skim” information from a contactless chip card. What does this mean?

Visa contactless chip transactions generate a one-time, transaction-specific code. Due to the nature of the code and additional fraud protection processes built into the Visa network, it is difficult to use skimmed cardholder information for fraudulent purchases. As a result, fraud from skimming is less likely and limited in scope. You can also rest assured that Visa cards offer protection from any unauthorized use with Visa’s Zero Liability Policy*.

*Visa’s Zero Liability does not apply to certain commercial cards and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact Alpine Bank for more detail on this policy.

Can someone track my location using my contactless card?

No. Your contactless card cannot be used to track your location.