Maccas fast food, faster with contactless

Maccas fast food, faster with contactless

Summary: McDonald's has become the latest chain of stores to jump on the contactless card fad, following the likes of Dymocks and Bunnings last month.


McDonald's has become the latest chain of stores to jump on the contactless card fad, following the likes of Dymocks and Bunnings last month.

McDonald's sign

(McDonald's sign Adelaide image by
David Neubert, CC2.0)

Visa and McDonald's announced today that Visa's payWave equipment would be installed in the fast food giant's 816 stores across the nation. The roll-out of the payWave terminals is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

The technology allows customers to use payWave cards to pay, simply by tapping the card against a reader. No PIN or signature is required for transactions under $100.

McDonald's Australia CIO Henry Shiner said that customers would enjoy the payment efficiency. "With Visa payWave, customers will see speedier transactions and they can pick up their food with just a wave of their card," he said.

National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Macquarie Bank are issuing customers with payWave cards. The Australia Financial Review reported this morning that the terminal roll-out was being carried out with Westpac, but the bank had not confirmed that with ZDNet Australia at the time of writing.

Bunnings and Dymocks have been rolling out the alternate contactless payment system from Mastercard, called PayPass. Commonwealth Bank had last month issued around 4 million PayPass-enabled credit and debit cards. Mastercard also announced today that 7-Eleven was rolling out the technology across its over 400 stores.

Visa, Mastercard and banks involved in the card roll-outs have expounded the security of the transactions, despite some concerns that the cards could become prey to rogue scanners. Some companies have even marketed shielded wallets to those worried about contactless cards' security.

"Visa payWave-enabled cards are as secure as any other Visa chip card and carry the same multiple layers of security, including Visa's Zero Liability, which ensures Visa cardholders are not responsible for fraudulent or unauthorised transactions," Visa Australia and New Zealand general manager, Chris Clark, said. "In addition, with Visa payWave the card never leaves your hand, which reduces the risk of fraud."

Clark said at a financial services event last week that contactless payment should also be included in the states' transport smart cards.

Topics: Security, Banking, E-Commerce

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Contactess POS is a security nightmare. The vendor takes no responsibility with who reads your card, provided they get paid. So imagine some hidden 'contactless' scanner placed near a McDonalds drive through or entrance. By the time you've discovered you've been billed the crim will have moved on and taken your money with them.

    How anyone can believe contactless payments are anything like secure is beyond me.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Hi Scott,

    In this article, written at the beginning of this year, I write what the banks have to say about security concerns.

    Suzanne Tindal,
    News Editor
  • Thanks for the link to the other article.

    I still believe that contactless payment opens up numerous security risks to the users. The biggest issue is that you have no control over when the card communicates and to whom. Any device that can therefore mimic transactions appropriately (eg. stolen, hacked, hijacked, cloned) could exploit your card.

    Contactless payments may use some near invunerable security but as long as the human is removed from the final decision to communicate or not, the system is subject to many exploits.

    Could someone track your whereabouts via the card, without you knowing? OK, perhaps they need to be in close proximity but it is feasible...

    My biggest concern is that the average Joe doesn't think about security at this level. They assume the technology is safe because it's new. Later they'll find out it isn't as foolproof as they thought, and that the banks aren't overly concerned as long as they don't lose any money.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Unfortunately, lots of mis-information and assumptions on the cards...

    The cards never transmit your number in the clear. Unique codes are generated and transmitted to every different vendor for every different transaction. Even if your card was skimmed, the information would only be good for a $4.96 transaction at McDonalds at 4:14pm today.

    It's much more likely that a rogue waiter will skim your mag-stripe, which has all the required information in the clear, and the security code printed on the back. Quite easy to print/encode a duplicate card - all the equipment is off the shelf.

    Contactless, though, you'd have to break the encryption, and then re-encode a new card to behave (encrypt) just like your existing. And by the time that happened, your credit card provider's fraud detection systems would have kicked in, and shut the card down anyway.

    All-in-all, you have the same, or better, security as you always had. Simply put, the credit card companies wouldn't be issuing these cards if it was exposing them to greater risk (or at least greater risk when balanced w/ their increased revenue from higher use of their cards).

    I will point out, though, that yes, it is technically feasible that someone could use your card to track your whereabouts. However, they can also do that with the phone in your pocket - almost easier, and from much further away -- and even easier with the security keycards we all carry around for offices and apartments, which have no encryption whatsoever!