How do contactless payments work?

What contactless payments are

Contactless payments allow customers to make payments touch-free. It’s enabled by near field communications (NFC) technology which allows two devices — like your phone and a payments terminal — to talk securely to each other when they’re close together.

Contactless payments work with cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay™️, and Samsung Pay. They are particularly useful for larger purchases and can be used to authorize amounts over the contactless limit (the amount a customer can spend per transaction before needing to enter their PIN).

These payment methods are considered strongly authenticated and therefore support high-volume transactions.

How contactless payments work

When doing a contactless transaction on Adyen terminals and in accordance with the EMV contactless specifications, the 4 circles in the top left of the terminal screen indicate the state of contactless transactions:

  • First circle from the left blinking: The contactless reader is idle.
  • First circle constantly on: The terminal received the payment request and the contactless reader is ready to read a card.
  • All four circles on: The contactless reader read the card. A beep will sound, to indicate the card can be removed.

Credit and debit cards can require a cardholder verification method (CVM) when used in a payment terminal, to verify that the person using the card is the legitimate cardholder. Verification is commonly done with a personal identification number or customer signature.

Contactless payment limits

Find the latest contactless limits per country/region in the News section of your Customer Area. We keep the configuration of the payment terminals up-to-date with these limits.

There’s no action required from your side when there are enforced contactless limits per country/region. When there’s a configuration change, the terminal picks up those changed CVM limits in the next automatic maintenance call.

You can see and configure some extra settings in your terminal for Contactless, CVM and offline Contactless.

Tip: Find more information on contactless payments and CVM.

Learn more

Find more details on this topic.

Go to Adyen Docs
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