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GUEST COMMENT With consumer spending on the rise, we must prioritise both security and convenience

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With shopping ramping up again following the worst of the pandemic, fraudsters will already be plotting their attacks. New changes to contactless card limits could easily play into fraudsters’ hands.

Thanks to recent changes, consumers can now spend a £100 via contactless cards at one time. This means fraudsters will now be able to spend up to £300 on a stolen contactless card without facing a security check. As a result, shoppers looking to increase their spending will be at greater risk of significant financial loss from theft than ever.

It’s a crucial time for businesses that have seen hugely reduced footfall over the last year or so. That’s why businesses large and small know that to win and keep customers spending at this key time, they must offer a simple experience without sacrificing security.

A new age of spending tech sees new scams on the horizon


With increased consumer spending come new technologies that make paying for goods faster and easier. But fraudsters are always up to date with the latest trends.

A fraudster is only as good as his tools. Unfortunately, bad actors are constantly adapting to the latest technologies, whether through impersonating businesses and organisations where people regularly shop or sending phishing emails to collect people’s personal data.

For instance, with more choice of product and brand at the consumer’s fingertips than ever, fraudsters have recently been tricking consumers into buying goods that never existed and will never be received, using long shipping delays as a cover. By the time you realise the company you bought from is unreachable and nowhere to be found online, it may be too late for you to report the fraud to your bank and get a refund.

As people frantically prepare for the holiday season this year, they’re more likely to fall into a carefully laid-out trap set by a fraudster. In-store might seem safer than online, but beware. While contactless payments are tricky for fraudsters to intercept via the paystream, consumers are right to be concerned when it comes to the repercussions of losing their card or having it stolen. We each have a different risk profile. £100 is a lot for some, and a little for others.

Organisations have a responsibility to listen to their customers when it comes to the degree of risk involved in making a transaction with them. It might seem like this is out of retailers’ hands, but it’s not. How can retailers ensure their customers are protected?

Tighten security measures for payments


In the last two years, companies and consumers alike have been forced to prioritise health and physical safety above all else. Thanks to the convenience of a simple tap, contactless payments are on the rise. However, consumers also expect flexible payment options when it comes to shopping.

While apps like Apple Pay already offer unlimited contactless payments without customers expressing concerns, the risk is different for cards. Apps require a pin, face or fingerprint scan – a layer of security contactless cards simply don’t have. 

When you use Apple Pay for instance, you verify yourself with either your fingerprint or Face ID, in addition to giving your payment details. This checks off the ‘have’ and the ‘are’. Alternatively, identity verification technologies are used by payments providers like PayPal. Everyone who signs up to PayPal, whether to send money around the world or to potentially buy or sell online, has several hoops to jump through to prove they are who they say they are. These hoops include identity verification technologies.

The solution for contactless payment security could take a leaf from Apple pay’s book. By verifying your identity using a selfie and a photo of your ID document, shoppers could feel more secure – while still only taking a few seconds to process. What’s more, banks and payments providers often ramp up this verification for large transactions or after a period of consistent transactions – adding another layer of security to what could be seen as ‘riskier’ payments.

Protecting customers from fraudsters


Looking ahead, implementing secure payment methods will be a top priority for retailers and businesses to achieve customer loyalty and attract new faces. To help cultivate a sense of digital trust, businesses and retailers will need to adopt secure strategies and technologies to give customers peace of mind. To build trust, financial organisations must listen to customers when they design new conveniences and continually balance this with security. They must be ten steps ahead of fraudsters, identifying their patterns and managing risk.

Ultimately, tech companies own the responsibility to protect people’s money, data and identities online. Only this way can consumers make the most of their digital identities.


Steve Ritter, CTO at Mitek

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