19 May 2013 - 2:44pm | posted by | 2 comments

Customers complain that M&S’s contactless payment system takes money from accounts without permission

Customers complain that M&S’s contactless payment system takes money from accounts without permission Customers complain that M&S’s contactless payment system takes money

Marks and Spencer’s customers have found themselves out of pocket after its contactless payment system took payments from their cards without permission, according to a Telegraph report.

M&S is the country’s leading user of contactless payment, which can be used to make payments of up to £20. However, the system is meant to deduct the amount when the card is no more than 2 inches away. Instead customers have found it taking money when the card was well away from the device.

M&S receives more than 250,000 payments a week using the technology, but has had increasing complaints on unauthorised payments.

M&S is not the only retailer to have noted problems with contactless payments.

Pret a Manger has confirmed it is investigating similar claims after a customer reported paying with a card that was more than 11 inches away from the reader.

A spokesman for M&S said: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers following the introduction of contactless which helps make payments quicker and more efficient for transactions under £20.

“We’ve tested the system extensively and it is robust and fit for purpose. Almost 250,000 transactions a week are now taking place in M&S stores on Contactless.”


19 May 2013 - 16:02
stuart_b's picture

Typical "Corporate Denial " statement of there being any problem when the reports suggest that there certainly is one . Are these where the card is being held by the customer out of their wallet or pocket or is the card being "swiped" while it is not out of the customers pocket etc ...

20 May 2013 - 12:26
david12544's picture

Some will take the view that this is an invasion of privacy, but perhaps the overarching theme here is merely that our choice as customers is being eroded, (i.e. our ability to determine exactly how - and more importantly when - we pay for goods). There's a body of evidence, spanning a number of years now, to suggest that despite known vulnerabilities with 'contactless' technology - the banks, and other industry apologists, continue to turn a blind eye to these issues. (For those interested in learning more, British-based company RFID Protect has produced an interesting range of - free to download - PDF 'case studies' on some of the issues with the RFID roll-out. You can find their 'case studies' within the 'resources' area of this company's main website.)

The answer is really quite simple. Marks & Spencer - and other contactless champions for that matter – really ought to consider issuing their contactless payment cards with RFID protective sleeves. (These protective sleeves can even be branded with logos, special offers and other such corporate messages if they like!) In this way we as customers are offered a real measure of control – i.e. dictating when, and how, we are charged for our goods – making payments on our terms. Surely, it's a 'win-win' for all involved...


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