The one thing South Africans need to stop doing when shopping with their cards

Despite reports about an increase in card fraud attempts, South Africans can still protect themselves by using a little common sense and a proactive approach to safety.

This is according to Chris Wood, executive for Card Issuing and Payments at Nedbank, who said that there are some common mistakes that cardholders make when shopping.

In particular, South Africans need to stop handing over their cards when making a payment, said Wood.

“As consumers, we’ve been handing over our cards to cashiers, waiters and petrol attendants for so long now, it’s become a habit,” he said.

But Wood says it’s one we have to break immediately.

“There is absolutely no reason why you should have to give anyone your card,” he says, “rather always ask for the terminal and insert or swipe your card yourself. That way there’s no chance of anyone getting any details off it.”

He also points to contactless card payments or tap-and-go transactions as a very safe option because it is very difficult to clone a card remotely, and tapping your card ensures that it stays in your hand throughout the transaction.

Don’t be scared into making a mistake

Ironically, the spike in fears over card security has actually created an opportunity for criminals to manipulate cardholders by posing as bank officials and telling customers that there’s been fraudulent activity on their cards, said Wood.

The cardholder is then scared into sharing their card details to stop the fraud, but inadvertently enables it instead, he said.

Wood emphasises that no bank will ever ask for you for your card details in an email or over the phone. If you are contacted in this way, you can be sure it’s a scam.

“While the fears around card fraud are understandable, it’s worth remembering that cash can actually be far riskier, because if it is lost or stolen, you have absolutely no way of preventing someone else from spending it.

“On the other hand, banks offer many excellent card protection measures, ranging from multiple security features to the ability to instantly stop anyone from using your card. If you use these correctly, they make your bank card a very safe and secure payment solution; not to mention a very convenient one.”


Read: Growth in fintech means more cyber attacks

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The one thing South Africans need to stop doing when shopping with their cards