Brian McKay, of Dunedin, holds the Visa payWave credit card
with which he unintentionally paid for groceries at
Countdown Andersons Bay. Photo by Peter McIntosh
A credit card inside a wallet, inside a pocket, is
settling bills without its owner's knowledge.
Brian McKay, of Dunedin, said he went to pay for his
groceries at Countdown Andersons Bay with his debit card on
Thursday and the checkout operator told him a card had
already paid for it using payWave technology.
The debit card he intended to use had no payWave capabilities
but the bill was settled by his Visa payWave credit card,
which was inside his wallet and in his other hand.
About two weeks earlier, at BP in Andersons Bay Rd, he went
to pay for nearly $80 of petrol with his debit card but the
bill was settled by his Visa, which was in his wallet and in
Both times, he had the cashier reverse the payments and moved
his wallet away to pay with his debit card.
He contacted Visa and asked for the payWave feature to be
disabled and was told it was not possible.
Mr McKay wanted Visa to add a verification stage to the
payWave process so unintended transactions were impossible.
He said he asked the checkout operator at Countdown Andersons
Bay if unintended payWave payments were common and she
replied ''all the time''.
''I think we need to be worried,'' Mr McKay said.
A Visa spokeswoman said Visa payWave cards only worked when
the card was within 4cm of the card reader but Visa would
investigate the incident.
Visa payWave cards were as secure as traditional chip cards
and met the same standards for security.
''Since contactless payments were introduced, there has been
no increase in card fraud,'' she said.
The Visa payWave cards were backed by Visa's zero liability
policy, which protected Visa cardholders from unauthorised
''We recommend cardholders check their statements regularly
and report any unauthorised activity to their bank
The Visa website says Visa payWave uses a computer chip
embedded in the card to send payment information to a reader
at the point of sale.