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Visa® payWave Contactless Cards

Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is Visa payWave?

    Visa payWave is a new payment feature available on Visa cards. With Visa payWave, you simply wave your card in front of a secure reader that accepts Visa payWave payments. No swiping is necessary on cards with Visa payWave.

    Visa payWave completes your transaction by using the latest radio frequency technology to send encrypted account information to readers configured to accept Visa payWave payments. For most transactions under $25, there is no need to sign a receipt, enter your PIN, or hand your card to the cashier. Nothing else about the transaction process changes; the purchase is authorized, processed, and billed the same way it is with traditional purchase methods and credit cards.

    To determine if your card has Visa payWave, just look for this symbol on your card.

  2. Is Visa payWave the same as Visa Contactless?

    Visa payWave is the name of the contactless feature on Visa cards. While Visa has offered contactless technology since 2002, the Visa payWave name was introduced in spring 2007. The feature has not changed -- just the name. Visa payWave still offers cardholders speedier checkout, as well as freedom from swiping or signing for transactions under $25.

  3. What are the benefits of Visa payWave?

    Visa payWave provides increased convenience and speed during the checkout process. Forget about fumbling for cash, managing change and even entering you're PIN. In addition, at participating merchants, Visa payWave transactions under $25 may not require a signature, further speeding up the time it takes to complete a debit or credit card transaction.

  4. Where can I use my card with Visa payWave?

    Visa payWave can be used at merchants displaying this symbol on terminal readers:
    Thousands of retailers accept Visa payWave payments, and the list is rapidly growing. Visa payWave makes it simple to save time every day -- at quick service restaurants, drugstores, movie theaters and more. Because cards with Visa payWave have a magnetic stripe, they can also be used for traditional swiped transactions at millions of locations worldwide. For a list of merchants near you that accept Visa payWave, visit

  5. What should I do if I can't complete a Visa payWave transaction at a participating merchant?

    Look for the following symbol at the point of purchase. You should also check to ensure the merchant accepts Visa payWave transactions. In the event a Visa payWave transaction cannot be completed, you can still rely on making a swiped transaction with your Visa card, since they also have magnetic stripe functionality.

  6. When using my Visa debit card with Visa payWave, should I choose "debit" or "credit" when prompted?

    If you wave your card in front of the secure reader and the terminal prompts you to select either credit or debit, select "credit." By choosing that option, your payment will be immediately processed through the same safe, secure and reliable payment network as magnetic stripe transactions.

  7. What should I do when I am asked to enter a pin number?

    If you are asked to enter your pin number after waving your card in front of the secure reader, choose "cancel" and then choose "credit." Nothing else about the transaction process changes; similarly, the purchase is authorized, processed and billed the same safe way as a magnetic stripe transaction.

  8. Is this a "Smart Card"?

    Visa payWave is a new form of smart card technology. Like smart cards, it uses an advanced computer chip embedded in the card's plastic to perform secure transactions. Because of the radio frequency interface, Visa payWave is easier and faster to use than more traditional smart cards.

  9. Will the Zions Bank Visa payWave card work as a contactless card internationally?

    The payWave cards Zions Bank is currently issuing will not work in foreign countries. The payWave 1.4.2 cards will only work in the U.S. However, as long as the merchant accepts magnetic striped cards, the card should still work in the traditional fashion.

  10. Can my card with Visa payWave be accidentally read by the secure reader if it's in my purse or pocket?

    To authorize a payment, you must wave your card or Visa Micro Tag directly within 1-2 inches of a secure reader that accepts Visa payWave payments, and it must be correctly oriented to be processed. Only the secure readers at authorized merchants can process the information on Visa cards with Visa payWave. Each time you make a Visa payWave payment, a unique transaction code is generated, which has to be verified through the reader before the transaction can be completed.

  11. Is my information safe when paying with Visa payWave?

    Visa payWave transactions are just as secure as magnetic stripe transactions and are processed through the same reliable payment network. And, because you remain in control of your payment device during Visa payWave transactions, the risk of fraud is reduced. Visa payWave also generates a unique digital watermark for every transaction to prevent unauthorized transactions. Active cardholder participation is required to perform a transaction, as the card must be within 1-2 inches of the secure reader that accepts Visa payWave payments and must be correctly oriented to be processed. Additionally, a checkout terminal can process only one device at a time, so transaction errors are minimized.

  12. How am I protected if my card with Visa payWave is lost or stolen?

    The Visa payWave feature provides cardholders the same protections as standard Visa cards. You'll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from multiple layers of Visa security, including Zero Liability, which protects you from fraudulent use of your card or account information. With Zero Liability, you pay absolutely nothing for unauthorized transactions.

  13. Will Zions Bank be offering a Visa "micro tag" keychain or "mini card" option in addition to the contactless payWave card format?


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This page was last modified on Thu Apr 24 15:01:37 MDT 2014