Just how do contactless cards works and is our money safe?

Visa Contactless card token being used

The popularity of contactless cards has surged over the last year, with a record £2.32 billion spent using this payment method in the UK in 2014.

How do contactless cards work?

They can be used to pay for items by touching a reader at the till, rather than having to enter a pin number. The current contactless limit for a single transaction is £20 and it will increase to £30 from September 1.

The cards contain a chip that holds your account information and an antenna that picks up power from a signal sent out by the card reader.

Card companies will limit the number of contactless transactions that can be made in a row before you are asked to enter your pin though, and the limit could be about £50 or five transactions.

How popular are contactless cards?

Their popularity has increased rapidly in recent months as a widening array of places now accept them and consumers have found them an increasingly convenient way to pay.

There are now 58 million contactless cards in circulation. More contactless transactions took place during the first nine months of 2014 than the previous six years combined, according to trade body the UK Cards Association.

What can I do to protect my card?

There are metal cases which claim to protect cards, although Which? said it has not yet tested their effectiveness. But Which? said that in its tests, wrapping a card in tin foil prevented it from being read, even when it was rubbed against a reader. The consumer group believes therefore that while it is not essential, lining your wallet with foil can help to protect your card details.

To prevent the risk of accidentally paying with the wrong contactless card, it is also wise to take the card you want to use out of your wallet to touch it on the reader, rather than waving the wallet over the reader.

How likely is it that a fraudster will copy my card details?

Which? said that although the risks are low, it is possible, although someone would probably have to be very close to you to "lift" your card details without you knowing. In the consumer group's tests, the card had to be touched against a mobile reading device, although it said that other readers might be more powerful.

Figures from the UK Cards Association show that in 2014, the total annual contactless fraud loss was £153,000 compared with total spending of £2.32 billion. This represents 0.7p in every £100 spent on contactless. Total card fraud losses (all forms, not just contactless) stood at 7.5p in every £100 spent on all debit and credit cards in 2014.

Will I get my money back if someone does use my card details fraudulently?

The UK Cards Association emphasises that consumers are fully protected against any fraud losses on contactless cards and will "never be left out of pocket".

Card providers should reimburse victims of contactless fraud, as long as they have acted reasonably to keep their card safe.

Crazy inventions you need now
See Gallery
Just how do contactless cards works and is our money safe?

For those days when you can’t beat a game of ping pong but can’t be bothered to bring the table down from the loft, why not try the ping pong door from Tobias Fräenzel?

It’s a fully-functioning door, but when you need a spot of pinging and ponging you can flip it down to form a table.  Houzz.com has it on offer for 990 euros. Just don't ask how people get through the doorway while you're playing.

Some people think that babies are nothing but hard work, and that you spend your life clearing up after them. But those people haven’t discovered the baby mop - a baby-gro with cleaning pads attached, so your loved one can clean as he or she crawls. It’s never to early to have them do their bit around the house. The baby-gro is on sale at Firebox.com for £29.99

Strolling around with a baby in a buggy is all very well and good, but what if you're tired of strolling, or you're in a hurry?

If you need to speed things up then inventor Valentin Vodev has the answer, with the scooter/buggy hybrid. So far the prototype is not on the market, but surely it can only be a matter of time.

Just think of all those hours you wasted making paper planes by folding them. Now you can cut the process down to less than a second with this paper plane gun, which makes the planes inside and fires them for you.

The gun itself was made with the genius of one man and the aid of a 3D printer, and it’s going to change the world of paper planes forever - once it gets beyond the prototype stage.

It's one of life's great questions. How can you carry an umbrella and a cup of coffee - and still be able to open doors?

Step forward the umbrella cup holder from Korea, with a nifty cup holder in the handle of the brolly that will leave your other hand spare for the other great challenges in life.

Eating lunch at your desk is never a delight. However, when you’ve packed a salad or soup and no cutlery it can make the whole process into a lunchtime nightmare.

Fortunately some clever soul has invented the ink pen cap eating utensils. Just keep them in your drawer, attach the knife, fork or spoon head to your pen, and you have a brilliant eating utensil.

Just don't ask why you can't just keep plastic cutlery in your drawer instead.

For anyone who has ever wondered where their pet goes all day - or whose animal has a habit of wandering off - fear not because now you can track it.

The G-Paws GSP tracker fits on their collar so that no matter where they roam, you can easy track them down. Firebox.com also points out it’s handy for tracking a trail of destruction, or for keeping tabs on your dog walker too.

Are you sick of your packed lunch going missing from the office fridge? Well those horrors could soon be a thing of the past with the theft deterrent sandwich bags.

For just $4.99 you can get a plastic sandwich bag with fake mould printed onto it. Those green splodges will mean that no matter how light-fingered your colleagues are, they’ll keep their hands off your lunch.

You might have thought that dogs are capable of getting wet and just shaking it off, but if you're worried that your pampered pooch is suffering, you can invest in a dog umbrella.

These are held by the owner, with an upside-down shade to hold over your dog in inclement weather. These bargains are available for $8.99 on Amazon.com.

Have you ever wondered who these people are with the time and patience to make their own sushi? Well now you can be one of them - but without the time and patience - because the sushi bazooka will make it for you.

Just load the gun with the rice and top with your filling, then seal it and squeeze. The sushi gun will then fire out a perfectly formed sushi roll. Your eating habits will be transformed for just £19.99 from Firebox.com


More on AOL Money:

Contacless payments: how to stay safe​

'bPay' contactless devices on sale​

'Flaw' in Visa contactless cards could help criminals steal thousands​

London Transport Network Finally Opening Up To Contactless Mobile Payments

Read Full Story