Contactless Payments FAQs - what merchants need to know.....

Updated: Apr 9, 2020


Contactless card payments are secure, quick and convenient.

Everyday purchases just got easier, faster and safer with contactless card payments. Innervation Pan African Payments provides merchants with a fast, safe and convenient way to accept contactless card payments, ensuring the best possible customer payment experience.

What is a contactless card?

Contactless cards have a technology feature, an embedded chip and radio frequency antenna, to ensure that payment details are transmitted safely and securely without the card leaving the cardholders hand.

What is a contactless payment?

A contactless payment transaction is made when the contactless card is tapped or held against a contactless enabled PIN Entry Device (PED), which can be supplied by Innervation or acquiring bank.

What are the benefits of contactless payments?

Contactless payments are quick and convenient, with the acquiring bank managing the risks related to them. This makes them safer than cash and eliminates the need for customers to carry cash for everyday purchases.

How does the contactless functionality on a card become active?

Mechanisms in this regard may differ by issuing bank – an issuing bank may configure the card to enforce an insert transaction before activating the contactless functionality and may also enforce an insert transaction after a certain number of contactless transactions.

Where can contactless cards be used?

The contactless cards can be used wherever you see the universal contactless symbol

How do contactless payments work?

  • Customers simply tap their contactless card against the contactless enabled PED – a PIN entry may be required depending on the value of the transaction.

  • For high value transactions, customers may be asked to insert their card and enter their PIN to finalise the payment.

  • 4 green LED lights will light up to confirm that the transaction is complete.

What does the customer need to do?

In order to pay for their purchase, the customer will need to tap / hold their contactless card against the contactless enabled PED. The customer maintains control during the purchase as the contactless card never leaves their hands.

How do I know if the contactless payment was successful?

4 green LED lights will light up and a message will be displayed to confirm that the transaction was successful. The sale will be closed off on the POS (point of sale) much like a transaction that is performed with an insert and PIN.

What if contactless payment is not available at the POS?

If a PED is not enabled for contactless payments, the contactless card can still be used like a regular card by swiping or inserting the card and entering a PIN.

What are the different limit classes for contactless transactions?

ALL contactless transactions in South Africa are processed ONLINE, implying that no transaction will be approved by the PED or card.

CVM Limit – R500.00 (typical industry standard, can be set by issuers at their discretion)

Cardholder Verification Method (CVM) is used to verify whether a person attempting a contactless transaction with a credit or debit card is the legitimate cardholder. The cardholder enters the PIN on the card terminal to authorise the transaction. All transactions above the CVM limit will prompt for PIN. The CVM limit is typically set by the issuer of the card.

Transaction Limit – R5,000.00 (typical industry limit)

The Transaction Limit determines whether a transaction is processed as contactless or contact EMV (inserted). All transactions above the Transaction limit will force insert of chip card (contact EMV)

Who determines these limits?

Regulators (PASA), acquirers and issuers will typically define and set the limits.

Can a contactless payment be made unknowingly by walking past a contactless enabled payment device?

In a word, no. The cashier would first need to enter the purchase amount for approval and the contactless card would need to be within 4cms of the contactless enabled payment device or PED to make a payment. PEDs can only process one payment at a time.

Also note that the devices that are enabled to process contactless payments need to be registered and authenticated with the acquiring bank, making it very difficult for transactions to be performed fraudulently (without the cardholder’s knowledge).

Should a card be lost / stolen, a transaction below the CVM limit could be performed. The cardholder, today, should be notified via an SMS service (provided by their issuing bank) of all transactions performed using the card and should therefore be alerted to such activities. From a merchant perspective, this risk vests with the issuing and acquiring bank in this scenario.

Find out more

Get in touch with us today to find out how you can build memorable customer experiences that help you grow your business.

Innervation Pan African Payment Solutions is a PCI-compliant provider of personalised, innovative payment and customer engagement solutions. Visit to find out more.