Go Cash-Free in Spain

cardsNowadays cash is used less and less, but you need to weigh up your options to avoid paying commission and ensure your chosen cashless alternative is safe.

Use Your Phone

Recently Samsung chose Spain as the first European country to launch Samsung Pay. First connect your smartphone to your Visa, Mastercard and/or American Express credit card, then pay via an app and your fingerprint. Simple, quick and easy.

Apple Pay can be used via an iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad. Card numbers are not stored on devices, which helps keep them secure, and they are not even sent to merchants as Apple Pay assigns a unique number for each purchase.

Contactless Cards

Contactless credit cards are becoming the norm in Spain, with over 10 million Visa contactless cards already issued. For payments under 20€ you won’t need your PIN, making payment quicker. If the amount is above 20€ the card reader will request your PIN to complete the transaction.

Most card readers in stores and restaurants in Spain now accept contactless payments, however not everyone has received from their bank or credit card company a compatible card – if this is your case, ask when you’ll be issued with one.

What About Security Issues?

If you’re concerned about security remember that if your card is stolen the number of 20€ transactions (those without your PIN) are limited to avoid fraudulent use. Normally on around the third or fourth consecutive use you will be requested to insert your PIN. The latest figures put contactless card transaction fraud rates at less than a third the rate of chip & PIN card fraud.

For those who’re still not convinced you could ask your bank to issue a standard card, although this will be less and less feasible in the future. Or take a look at a free credit card from a different provider or a prepaid card.

On Amazon you can purchase a protective wallet, which, theoretically, will stop any thief from being able to scan your card.

Remember if your card is stolen to inform your bank or credit card company immediately. Keep a note of the phone number both on your smartphone and on paper. You’ll normally be responsible for any transactions until the time you request the card to be cancelled.

The Lucky Escape!

If it’s any consolation the one time I had my credit card stolen I didn’t notice for 48 hours but the thief had only bought two metro tickets at 10€ each!