The use of contactless technology has taken off: the UK Cards Association pointed out that it took almost eight years for contactless spending to reach £500 million. Now it has grown the same amount in just four months.
It's easy to see why - as contactless payments are far quicker and more convenient than entering a PIN or paying by cash.
However, we seem to be paying the price for this convenience - through an increased fraud risk. Fraud prevention company Defender Note found that 18% of people with contactless cards had fallen victim - while only 9% of those with more traditional cards had.
The idea of being able to remotely read cards - without the card owner having to input a PIN or sign their name - has opened a new avenue for fraudsters.
Last summer, Which? purchased card-reading technology and tested whether they could take information from ten cards. They were able to read the card number and expiry date as well as limited details of the previous ten transactions. They thought initially that this wouldn't be any use to them, because they didn't manage to get the CVV codes, but they were able to order a number of items online using the information they had - including a £3,000 TV.
Is your money safe?
The UK Card Association is keen to point out that contactless cards were built using the same secure system as Chip and PIN. They also feature a range of security features to safeguard our information and protect against fraud - and they add that there has never been a confirmed report of money stolen from a contactless card still in the cardholder's possession in the UK.
They point out that you would have to get extremely close to read someone's card - and even then you would not get their name, address or CVV, which should protect them from anyone being able to make a purchase on the card. They add that you can't just steal money from a card - a fraudster would have to use it to pay themselves - so the money could be easily traced and returned.
They would be able to steal the card and make contactless transactions, but the system will require them to enter a PIN every so-often to verify they are the legitimate cardholder, which would eventually halt them in their tracks. Even when on their spending spree, each transaction would be limited to £30. And because you are protected against fraud, unless you had been negligent, you would have any money refunded.
However, there is a large swathe of people in the UK who are yet to be convinced. The Defender Note figures revealed that one in five people swear they will never use the technology because they are worried that they aren't secure, and a quarter are concerned that the technology makes fraud too easy. A third want to be asked by their bank before being sent a contactless card.
Morgan Rothwell, Director of Defender Note, said: "Contactless technology has revolutionised payments and made low-cost purchases far more convenient. While innovation is undoubtedly a positive thing, it's important that card providers and banks continue to make customers feel safe about embracing new technology."
But what do you think? Do you trust contactless cards? Let us know in the comments.
Victims of scams and fraud
Contactless cards: twice the level of fraud
Susan Tollefsen, Britain's oldest first time mother, was scammed out of £160,000 by a fraudster she met on an online dating site. A man claiming to be an Italian gold and diamond dealer told her he was in the middle of a land deal but couldn't access cash. Tollefsen felt sorry for him and started wiring him money, eventually selling her jewellery, her flat and borrowing £32,000 from friends to give him. Read the full story here.
In March 2015 an American woman who was only identified as 'Sarah' went on the popular US television programme the Dr Phil Show to reveal she had sent $1.4 million to a man that she had never met. Although she was certain she wasn't being scammed, her cousin made her go on the programme because she was convinced it was a scam. Find out more about the story here.
Maggie Surridge employed Lee Slocombe to lay a £350 deck in her garden in March 2015. However Slocombe used a combination of lies to scam Surridge out of thousands of pounds. He told Surridge that the front and back walls were dangerous and needed rebuilding and also conned her into building a porch, all for the cost of £8,500. Read the full story here.
It's not just individuals who can be the victims of scams, big corporations can also fall foul of these fraudulent practices. In 2015 Claire Dunleavy repeatedly used a 7p 'reduced' sticker to get significant amounts of money off her shopping at an Asda store in Burslem, ending up with her paying just £15.66 for a shop that should have cost £69.02. Read the full story here.
Sylvia Kneller, 76, was conned out of £200,000 over the space of 56 years thanks to scam mail. The pensioner became addicted to responding to the fraudsters, convinced that she would one day win a fortune. Ms Kneller would receive letters claiming she had won large sums of money but she needed to send processing fees to claim her prize. Learn about the full story here.
Leslie Jubb, 103, became Britain's oldest scam victim in August last year when he was conned out of £60,000 after being sent an endless stream of catalogues promising prizes in return for purchasing overpriced goods. The extent of this con was discovered when Mr Jubb temporarily moved into a care home and his family discovered what he had lost. Find out more about this story here.
Stephen Cox won more than £100,000 on the National Lottery in 2003 but has been left with nothing after falling victim to two conmen. The 63-year-old was pressured into handing over £60,000 to the men who told him his roof needed fixing. They walked him into banks and building societies persuading him to part with £80,000 of cash while doing no work in return. See the full story here.
Last year the Metropolitan Police released CCTV footage of a woman who had £250 stolen at a cash machine in Dagenham. The scam involved two men distracting the woman at the machine, pressing the button for £250 then taking the money and running away. Read about the full story here.
Rebecca Ferguson shot to fame as a runner up on the X-Factor in 2010 but fell victim to a scam artist last year when someone she had believed to be a friend conned her out of £43,000. Rachel Taylor befriended the singer in 2012 and claimed to be a qualified accountant, so Ferguson allowed her to look after her finances. Instead of doing this Taylor stole £43,000 from the Liverpudlian singer. Read more here.
When Rebecca Lewis discovered her fiance had started a relationship with a woman he met online she packed her bags to leave. But that didn't stop her checking out the mystery woman, Rebecca quickly realised Paul Rusher's new love was actually part of a romance scam. She told Paul just before he sent the scammers £2,000 which was supposed to bring his new girlfriend to England. Find the full story here.