An Echuca woman is concerned the payWave feature on her debit card made it easier for thieves to spend her money recently.By Ivy Wise
A young Echuca woman is warning people of the dangers of payWave after her debit card was stolen and used to buy up to more than $300 worth of goods.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, had her handbag stolen last week and thieves used the payWave feature on her Commonwealth debit Mastercard to make several transactions with a swipe of the card.
‘‘It could happen to anyone with these modern-day cards,’’ she said.
‘‘As soon as any criminal has the card in their hands, they don’t need any identification or security code.
‘‘They can just tap the card to the machine and spend up to $100 each transaction.’’
She said she was led to believe payWave was a completely safe feature.
‘‘It seemed lazy to me, but I was assured that you could only spend $100,’’ she said.
‘‘I assumed this meant per day, but I was surely mistaken when hundreds of dollars in transaction after transaction were taken from my account in a timeframe of about 30 minutes.’’
Attempting to cancel the card, she phoned the Commonwealth Bank only to be put on hold for half an hour while more money was being spent, so she transferred all the money into another account.
With the card eventually cancelled and a replacement on the way, she said she would do everything possible to disable the payWave feature.
The Australian Securities Investment Commission’s MoneySmart advises payWave cardholders to be vigilant if their cards are lost or stolen.
‘‘Most stolen transactions happen within the first 48 hours, so keep an eye on your account and if you notice any transactions that you didn’t make, contact your card issuer immediately,’’ a spokesperson said.
‘‘When you report a mistake on your account, make sure you get a reference number to verify that you made the report.’’
Although payWave is a permanent feature on most credit and debit cards, the spokesperson said you could still make purchases by using a signature or pin.
‘‘It is worth noting that a thief can just as easily forge your signature and use a standard debit or credit card to make purchases,’’ she said.
‘‘The difference is the payWave technology limits purchases to $100, so this helps lessen the damage a thief can make on your finances.’’
The spokesperson also said most credit cards provided a zero liability policy, meaning you are covered for any unauthorised transactions with 100 per cent reimbursement.
‘‘Some providers state that you must notify the institution immediately in order to get your money back,’’ she said.
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