Slovenská sporiteľňa clients will, starting next Wednesday, be able to securely and conveniently pay by card up to €50 without needing to enter their PIN code. The Bank is responding to a new law from the Finance Ministry to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus when paying. Clients are still recommended to pay using their smartphones or watches, allowing payments above €50 without coming into contact with the payment terminal. Payment terminal owners needn’t worry; the change to the setting of their devices will happen automatically; it is enough for the terminal to be connected to the network.
“Slovenská sporiteľňa has very quickly digitalised a large part of its processes in order to protect the health of both its clients and employees, while securing the functioning of banking services. These include for instance sending of payment card PIN codes via SMS or handling of loan repayment deferral through George. I am happy that we have managed, earlier than planned, to adjust our systems so that our clients can make contactless payments up to €50,” explains Zdeněk Románek, Member of the Board of Directors of Slovenská sporiteľňa, responsible for retail banking.
1. When will the new limits apply from?
The proposed measures will acquire effect on 22 April 2020. They will not be limited only to the effective period of the coronavirus law, but will continue permanently. In practice this means that from this date all banks and owners of payment terminals should be ready to apply these changes. When the clients try to pay higher amounts before this date, this option will be partially available to the clients of those banks who have already changed their systems (e.g. Slovenská sporiteľňa), and only on payment terminals that likewise have been changed.
2. How much money will I be able to pay in the new system?
The limit for one contactless payment without entering the PIN code is €50. For consecutive payments cumulatively it is €150. If, though, the client in the meantime makes a contact payment, for example an ATM cash withdrawal or enters their PIN for a payment above €50, the counter for contactless payments is reset, and the client can again begin making payments without entering their PIN.
3. Does the increased limit from €20 to €50 pose an increased risk of abuse?
Contactless payments are safe. Where possible, they must be made online, i.e. they are sent for approval to the bank. This means that if a payment card has been blocked due to loss or theft, each attempt at payment will be rejected. If the card has been abused by an unauthorised person before the moment of the card being reported for blocking, the bank will return the money to the client.
4. Are there any changes in payments by smartphone?
From the client’s aspect, nothing will change when paying by smartphone. The Apple Pay service is validated in the same way (and thereby authorised through the PIN code or biometrics) for all payments regardless of the amount and so users will not see any changes even when making payments above the original €20 limit. Google Pay is a different case, where the client has so far been paying the amounts below €20 by simply pressing a locked phone with a lit screen to the terminal, and only higher amounts had to be authorised through the PIN code or biometrics. In the new system, the phone will be automatically adapted to the increased limit, meaning that payments up to €50 can be made simply when the screen is lit.
5. What is the procedure for payment terminal owners?
Slovenská sporiteľňa provides payment terminals in the framework of the joint venture Global Payments. “Changes in the settings of payment terminals are simple and will be made remotely. The only requirement is that the terminal is switched on and connected to the network; the merchant does not need to be present. In other cases we will contact the merchants to switch on their payment terminals; the change will be made automatically after connecting to our system. I believe that thanks to this process we will be able to quickly set all, more than 15 000, of our payment terminals,” explains Erik Brinkáč, Global Payments Country Manager for Slovakia.