Contactless payments

Contactless payment technology is a great way for you to accept low value Visa card payments - in less than a second.

Our contactless payments solution is fast, convenient and secure. Cardholders hold their Visa card up to a secure reader and a tiny antenna inside the card communicates with the terminal. Half a second later the sale is complete.


  • Faster service: With payment completed in less than a second, you can serve your customers faster, cut queues and reduce lost sales.

  • Simple for staff: Visa payWave eliminates the need to check signatures and reduces the need to request PINs, making payment simple for staff and quicker for customers.

  • Competitive edge: Accepting Visa payWave gives you a potential advantage over nearby stores that do not. Make the most of this to develop customer loyalty.

  • Reduce cash dependence: Counting, securely transporting and banking notes and coins can be expensive. Visa payWave can help break your cash dependency.

More information

Contact your acquiring bank to find out more about how Visa's contactless solution can work for you.

Contactless FAQs

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What is Visa payWave?

Visa payWave is the name of Visa’s contactless payment programme for low-value payments of around €30 or less (or domestic market equivalent, e.g. £30 in the UK).

Visa payWave is the fastest way to pay. Payment is complete in less than a second without the need to insert or swipe the card or wait for a PIN or signature. Customers simply hold their Visa payWave card up to the special contactless reader and wait for the ‘beep’. It’s fast, easy and convenient.

What makes Visa payWave so special?

Visa payWave makes things quicker and easier for you and your customers. It speeds up service and cuts cash-handling costs, while for customers, it is quick, convenient and secure.

How much does it cost to install contactless card acceptance?

The total cost of installing contactless card acceptance depends largely on the physical environment and the nature of your existing point-of-sale technology.

The price of a contactless card reader varies from supplier to supplier. As a guiding principle, the reader will be a basic, low-cost component and, relative to the cost of a chip and PIN terminal, the cost of upgrading to contactless card acceptance is marginal.

Contact your acquiring bank for more information on installing contactless card acceptance.

What preparations do I need to make to accept contactless payment?

The specific steps you need to take will depend on the nature and configuration of your existing point-of-sale technology and the layout of your sales area.

Because Visa payWave builds on existing chip and PIN technology, additional investment to support it is kept to an absolute minimum. If you already accept Visa cards, it’s often a simple matter of obtaining a low-cost, plug-in contactless card reader and routine software from your acquiring bank.

How do I process a Visa payWave sale?

Visa payWave is designed for low-value payments of around €30 or less (or domestic market equivalent, eg £30 in the UK). In this case all you need to do is enter the transaction amount as usual and the reader display prompts the customer to present their card. Occasionally, the terminal may prompt the cardholder for a PIN. This is a routine security check that the customer’s bank has requested take place.

Any sale that exceeds around €30/£30 should be processed in the normal way using chip and PIN.

How do I recognise Visa payWave cards?

Visa payWave cards look like any other Visa card but will feature the contactless indicator on the front or back of the card. The Visa payWave product name may also appear on the front of the card.

How secure is Visa payWave?

Visa payWave uses the same technology that’s behind chip and PIN and is very secure. The chip on a Visa payWave card uses the highest level of cryptography and the latest smart card technology.

From time to time, you may need to insert the card for a full chip and PIN sale even if it is a low-value purchase. This is a routine security check for you and your customer designed to prove that the cardholder is still in possession of the card.

If a customer were to get too close to a Visa payWave terminal, is there any risk of their card getting ‘charged’ accidentally?

No. The reader only powers up when you have entered an amount into the terminal and returns to standby mode as soon as the sale is complete. In standby mode the reader cannot take payment from a card. Moreover, a customer must hold their card within five centimetres of the card reader to make a payment. It is not possible for the card to be read from greater distances.

As a further safeguard, each sale must be either complete or void before another one can take place, so there is no risk of ‘partial’ sales or charging the customer twice.

If a cardholder were to hold their card to the terminal more than once, would they be charged twice?

No. Each sale must be either complete or void before another one can take place, so there is no risk of charging the customer twice or making ‘partial’ sales.

What are the fallback procedures?

Your normal fallback procedures should apply.

What about chargebacks?

As a retailer, even though the consumer has not signed or entered their PIN, you are guaranteed payment for contactless payments below certain thresholds as long as you follow the programme rules. Please contact your acquiring bank to check their terms and conditions and for more information on contactless payments.