How can I deactivate my ATM card

Contactless payment: How to deactivate the function

In the supermarket or at the petrol station, it is already practical: instead of inserting their card into the payment terminal, consumers just hold it briefly over the display. But what if you don't want contactless payment technology?

Contactless payment is offered by more and more money cards. But some consumers do not like the technology, for example because of data protection concerns. In principle, you can do without this function, explains the Association of German Banks. For this, customers would have to ask their house bank.

This is how you can deactivate the contactless function

According to the association, there could be two options: The bank deactivates the contactless function of the card or sends a new one in which the function is deactivated from the outset or in which no corresponding interface is built in at all. This applies equally to giro and credit cards, says an association spokeswoman.

Customers of Volksbank and Raiffeisenbanken, for example, can deactivate the contactless function of their giro card with an NFC interface ("near field communication") at ATMs, explains Ingo Limburg from Euro Kartensysteme, a joint venture between banks and savings banks.

Sparkasse customers, on the other hand, would first have to go to the advisor in the branch. With the digital provider Revolut, for example, the function can be displayed in the app. Destroying the cards, for example by drilling open the chip, is not advisable, as is putting a card in the microwave.

This is how contactless payment works

The principle of contactless payment is simple: you hold your card over the terminal instead of inserting it there. Up to a sum of 25 euros, payment is usually made without entering a PIN. Money cards with such a function can be marked with a symbol made up of four waves, which is similar to the WLAN symbol. Another label is "girogo".

Anyone who is afraid that card data may be read out unnoticed by third parties can put their money card in a metal case, for example. Also protect two cards with NFC interfaces in the same wallet. "They would block each other," says Limburg. He rejects fears that such giro cards will be debited unnoticed with mobile card terminals. There was no such case in the German banking industry's girocard system. "Nobody can withdraw money that easily."

How secure is contactless payment?

In an experiment, the magazine "c't", according to its own statements, succeeded in accessing small amounts under 25 euros from a credit card with a contactless function that was in a pocket in a wallet. But as "c't" reported in its online edition, this should still be difficult for criminals in practice: Before they could use a payment terminal, they would have to open a current account and provide proof of identity.

A payment terminal manufacturer referred to "c't" on high security standards. In more than six years he has not become aware of a case in which criminals have unnoticed withdrawn amounts of money from cards with the help of his terminals.