Card payments: Do you want a copy?


It’s a question you’ll have been asked many times when making small in-store card purchases: “Do you want a copy?” The “copy” is the point-of-sale (POS) terminal receipt with details of the payment. Perhaps you say no, and that’s probably a good decision; you don’t need it and it’s bad for the environment. But before you turn it down, check the POS screen to make sure you have been charged the right amount.

This seems obvious: you need to see how much you’re paying. However, with the growing prevalence of low-value contactless payments – where the buyer simply holds their card up to the POS and payment is processed automatically, without requiring a PIN –, you may act mechanically and forget to check how much you are being charged.

At present, you don’t need to enter a PIN for payments of up to €50. If a higher number is entered, you’ll be asked for your PIN and will have to look at the terminal. But mistakes are possible even with lower figures, and they might be difficult to resolve.

So remember:

  • When holding you card up to a POS for a contactless payment, check that the amount stated on the screen is correct. A copy can help you keep track of your spending.
  • Keep the purchase receipt. That way you can check that the amount charged to the card matches the purchase. Remember, many traders offer the option of an electronic receipt.
  • Check the card charges in your account to monitor your transactions.

Ask your bank whether it can send an SMS alert whenever your card is used.

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