Monday 20 May 2013

BOPUT deals - at a checkout near you!

Contactless cards can hit shoppers with an inadvertent Buy-Once-Pay-UP-Twice deal as an extra payment can be triggered without their permission while paying with a standard bank card or cash.

The system, which can be used for goods worth up to £20, is supposed to work only when the cards are placed within two inches of special terminals at the checkout. But customers who got in touch with the Money Box show on BBC Radio 4 allegedly said they were charged when the plastic was in their purse and well away from the readers – meaning they unwittingly paid twice.

An article in the Daily Mail details shopper experiences in discovering the errors and obtaining refunds, and quotes the UK Cards Association’s suggestions that cardholders should not to put their wallet down in this quite narrow field when they pay.

Reality check!
Given that many shoppers may choose to hold their purse in one hand while multi-tasking                                (packing/coupons/babies/cash-back/loyalty points…) at the checkout, and even use their purse-hand to shield PIN input, it seems unreasonable to expect them to also remember to hold the purse at arm’s length, 'out-of-sight', away from the terminal…?

Taking into account the fragile level of acceptance and relative novelty of contactless payment, retailers need to find ways of identifying the scale of the problem –‘na├»ve’ shoppers will expect that computer screens will simply reveal duplicate payments at a checkout terminal and in retailer records – and make immediate refunds, rather than await the inevitable build-up of creeping suspicion, and suffer the loss of business to ‘old fashioned’ competitors that still rely on personal contact…. 

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