Disabling Contactless Payment on Debit Cards

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Introduction: Disabling Contactless Payment on Debit Cards

Contactless payment is a relatively new feature in debit cards that allows you to make payments for small purchases quickly and wirelessly over a short distance without having to enter your pin.

When my old debit card expired and a new one was sent, it came with this new feature. I wanted a way to disable it since each time I was scanning my RFID access card in my wallet, the detectors at work were picking up the debit card too. They'd beep twice and sometimes get confused. Not only this, but while my bank promises it's secure, I'd rather not have a feature I don't intend to use on the off-chance that it's not.

Existing articles I found when looking for a way to disable it guess at the location or infer it by cutting apart other contactless bank cards. Since I have access to a micro-CT scanner at the University of Huddersfield Centre for Precision Technologies, I thought I'd put my card in the machine, take a 2d xray still and allow myself to find the quickest and easiest way to disable it.

The above image is a a screen grab from the Xray preview of a Nikon micro-CT scanner. The low resolution is due to it being a live view image. When in operation the micro-CT scanner is capable of a resolution of several microns.

Step 1: How Contactless Payment Works

Contactless payment works using RFID technology. A chip inside the card is powered when the card comes into close proximity to an RFID card reader. The signal emitted from the reader powers the chip though use of the embedded antenna. If this antenna is cut there will be no power to the chip and so when the card is held close to a reader the debit card won't reply.

By making cuts in the card where we know the antenna is, we can disable the wireless payment features.

Step 2: How to Disable It on Your Card

Make a cut 5 mm deep anywhere around the debit card or snip off a corner. This will break the antenna path and stop power to the chip when held near a reader.

That's it. Easy!

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38 Discussions

0
gergend
gergend

Tip 20 days ago on Step 2

I have an Amex card that is clear so I can see the antenna. Mine does not have the single wire big loop going around the perimeter like yours. The antenna loops are in the same place as your xray shows. I used a paper hole punch to sever the antenna, which left the card edges smooth.

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leavingcasoon
leavingcasoon

1 year ago on Step 1

Your article was VERY USEFUL. On July 30, 19, I paid cash at a grocer, $21.02, Trader Joes in CA. I set my purse on the counter, about a foot away from the elevated display to insert or swipe credit cards. As I got back to my car, my cell phone was flashing Alerts from Wells Fargo that 2 attempts were Blocked to use my Visa for purchases at Trader Joes. I luckily placed a Block on my Visa a few days prior, since I seldom use the card. I also just received the new replacement Visa only ten days prior. I thought my visa fell out of my purse and someone found it and began charging at the same grocery store. i got the toll free number to Wells Fargo from the Store Manager. The agent asked me to look at the back of the card, were the curved lines on the card? I noticed this new change. The Agent told me its a Tap Card new Contact less technology for convenience. The amounts attempted to be charged 2 times was the exact about of my CASH purchase. I never removed my card,nor presented it. I thought the Visa was in my car in the checkbook where I keep it with debit card. Wells fargo only said since I had my card locked, it could not charge. Do you see the horrible fraudulent theft that is and will be taking place with hundreds of thousands of card holders. ? This is very dark, dangerous technology being forced on consumers. All future replacement cards are wireless, debit, and Credit Cards. The consumer does not even know what card would be charged if having multiple cards in the wallet or purse. I am shocked at the cavalier attitude of both the grocery store and Wells Fargo, it's business as usual. Had the Block/Lock on my Visa not been on, I would have Unknowingly be charge TWO times, paying cash, and the VISA charged at the same time without my knowledge. Consumers may not look at the statements for weeks, and not even realize they paid cash, and being charged double, multiple times for purchases, they forgot, or tossed the receipt, Their would be no proof to dispute charges to Visa /MC or any other cards. Very dangerous, Not secure, I see a future class action suit against the banks and this technology . Thank you for your important post, I did exactly what you suggested, in fact cut the corner, and snipped a line at the bottom of my Visa. I will alert others how to do this. Another bad use of this technology, criminals with scanners can easiliey caputure all data from the credit card, number expiration security code, name etc. There are portable devices that can wirelssly read your data to begin charging, your Card.

0
BooR3
BooR3

Reply 10 months ago

If you are a Wells Fargo customer just call the number on the back of your card and request a non-NFC card.

0
keekee38
keekee38

2 years ago on Step 1

hi how I use that card my first time

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leavingcasoon
leavingcasoon

Reply 1 year ago

Another dangerous way to be victimized.. If the cardholder is standing near the Cashier in line, while the customer next is paying cash, its highly possible, the charge can be placed on your card, hidden deep within a purse, or wallet. The victim would not even know you paid for another customers groceries, or other purchases, if they are paying cash. The wireless grabs the card it can find, and knows not who it belongs to. There is no agreeing to any amount, or viewing the display to agree to the charge, and sign for the amount and getting a receipt. The cash receipt that is provided if you ask, will not display the Charge to another person or your own hidden credit card. Dangerous, fraud inflicted on consumers. There is nothing the consumer can do, short of turning off all your cards.

0
AlexanderJ51
AlexanderJ51

Tip 2 years ago on Step 2

I'm not sure if all cards have the same antenna design, my cards seemed different but not sure. however, I was able to look through the card using a bright flashlight in a dark room & identify the Antenna location that way.

0
Zeugma-fr
Zeugma-fr

6 years ago on Introduction

There is an other method, which is non-destructive.

You just have to add a small square (1cm x 1cm) of self-adhesive copper sticker on the back of the card.

Depending on where you put this copper, you will have 2 possibilities.

If you put it somewhere on the zone where the 3 spires are visible in your pic, you will scramble the RFID communication => no more communication.

If you put it in the big white zone, outside the 3 spires of the top, but inside the big spire, without covering it, you will change the antenna tuning, meaning the card will need to be closer (it need more power) to the reader to work.

0
tchernutts
tchernutts

Reply 2 years ago

Good idea but if the copper tape is effective how come the magnetic stripe which also crosses the wires doesn't interfere with them?

0
tchernutts
tchernutts

2 years ago

I can see the wires just by looking very closely at the front of the card, with no light shining through. A dark blue 'Nationwide' card. Suggests the wires may be much nearer to the front surface so a shallow cut on that side might be enough.?Easier to spot the wires in the lighter coloured writing though, then just follow the lines from there.

0
WhoM4
WhoM4

3 years ago

I cannot use the LED shine through as the card in black plastic! So I am hoping that taking Jayefuu's advice I could still make a 5mm cut on the bottom edge near the corner and that will kill the antenna? Can anyone confirm this for me please? Thanks

0
WhoM4
WhoM4

3 years ago

Hi Folks,

As my 'contactless' card is black the high intensity LED light will not shine through to show me where the antenna wires are, so as the wire will no doubt be around the outer edge of the card, could I with a large degree of certainty make the 5mm cut suggested by Jayefuu and stop it operating?

A conversation with the card provider today has made it clear that they and mastercard will not be offering a choice of non contacless or contactless cards in the near future.

While with Visa and your respective bank you do have this option and so can remain just chip and pin.

0
marcwilson
marcwilson

5 years ago on Introduction

I like the idea of a button on the card. Until then, I just keep mine in an aluminium wallet. :)

0
KathleenR21
KathleenR21

Reply 4 years ago

I kept mine in an aluminum wallet, but it got hacked when I had to take it out of the wallet to make a purchase. I don't think there was anyone behind me in line but I had to hand it to the cashier and she had it behind the register where I couldn't see. Later that afternoon the fraud charges started coming in.

0
DavidJ198
DavidJ198

4 years ago

I hate this damn chip !! Some stores require the chip being used if the card has one. And the card stays in the machine, I am disabled, and have a bad memory... Gonna cut the chip out !!!

0
MikeP158
MikeP158

Reply 4 years ago

Uh the magstripe on your card will tell the reader you still have a chip so good luck with that!

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DaleD16
DaleD16

4 years ago

Honestly what is the point in disabling it? In the unlikely event that you're scammed the bank will refund the loss anyway. I think what people should be worrying about is the fact that the currency (GBP, USD EURO, all of them) is backed by nothing and is debt based. All credit is loaned into existence, savings are multiplied 10's and 100's of times over with a magic trick called fractional reserve lending (Google it I'm not making this up).

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MODDEDbyBACTERIA
MODDEDbyBACTERIA

4 years ago

Did some Googling, appears that different cards have their antennas in different places on the card, also the above only works for cards with magnetic stripe apparently not a dummy strip printed in its place as the antenna is apparently integral to the chip. Those two things I read anyway, care to comment on the accuracy please of the two comments? Also read if you have more than one contactless card in your wallet that places like the London Tube, etc will remove funds from all of your contactless cards at the same time - true?

Best to get RFID blocking wallet I guess.

0
mikesmithfl
mikesmithfl

5 years ago on Introduction

I found that if I crushed the area with the chip in vice-grips, I could bend the card slightly and remove the chip from the front of the card. It left a vacant spot with the color of the back layer coming through. It looks better that way! :)

0
mikesmithfl
mikesmithfl

5 years ago on Introduction

I found that if I crushed the area with the chip in vice-grips, I could bend the card slightly and remove the chip from the front of the card. It left a vacant spot with the color of the back layer coming through. It looks better that way! :)