Mastercard PayPass

Make fast and secure payments without entering your PIN.

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Mastercard PayPass is a popular new technology that allows you to tap your card on a contactless payment terminal to complete a purchase, rather than inserting or swiping your card and entering a PIN. Here’s how this technology works and which Mastercard credit cards offer this feature.

Our pick for a Mastercard

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2x ThankYou® Points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1x points thereafter. Plus, earn 1x points on all other purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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Compare Mastercard credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$0
The only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
Citi Simplicity® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% variable)
$0
Enjoy one of the longest intro APRs on balance transfers, no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
N/A
23.99% variable
$0
A no annual fee secured card for people who are new to credit or have limited credit history with a fair to average credit score.

Compare up to 4 providers

How does Mastercard PayPass work?

Contactless payment technology is quite simple:

  1. Make a purchase at a merchant that has a Mastercard PayPass contactless terminal.
  2. Hold your card within 4 cm of the terminal to approve the purchase.
  3. Wait for the green light and a beep indicating your purchase has been approved.

Mastercard PayPass

Mastercard PayPass does come with a caveat: if the purchase is over $100, you’ll need to enter your PIN after tapping the terminal.

Contactless payments use an embedded computer chip and radio frequency antenna to communicate with the contactless terminal card reader. Each contactless payment generates a unique code so you won’t be charged double for contactless payments if you accidentally tap your card on the reader twice.

To make things even easier, you may also be issued with a Mastercard PayPass key fob or payment tag. The small plastic fob or tag contains the same contactless computer chip and radio frequency antenna as your regular credit card.

Finally, many issuers allow you to make contactless payments with your mobile device. This means that not only do you not have to enter your PIN, you might not even have to use your card to make purchases.

Is it safe to use Mastercard PayPass?

There are some pros and cons using contactless payments but they are just as safe as any other transaction. The following security procedures and policies are in place to make sure your PayPass contactless payments are protected:

  • No accidental payments. As you need to hold the card within an inch or so of the terminal, there is little chance that an accidental payment will be made using your card as you walk by a terminal that is enabled to accept contactless payments.
  • Encryption technology. Each purchase generates a unique encryption code which ensures that you’ll only be charged once, even if you accidentally tap your card against the terminal twice or if you don’t hold your card on the reader long enough and you’re asked to tap it again.
  • Mastercard Zero Liability guarantee. If your card has been lost or stolen, you should contact your card issuer immediately to either freeze or cancel the card. If your card has been stolen and used for unauthorized transactions, you’ll be protected by Mastercard’s Zero Liability guarantee and will be reimbursed for any fraudulent transactions.

Bottom line

Mastercard PayPass is a simple, convenient and secure way to make contactless payments using your credit card. While using your card for contactless payments is mostly safe, it’s important you use it wisely and store it safely to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Learn about some common credit card frauds and scams so you can stay protected.

Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    HudsonNovember 24, 2019

    Is a PayPass fob from Citi unused for 10 years still valid? At what URL does Citi allow input of the fob ID number to be entered to update or reactivate fobs?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoNovember 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Hudson,

      Thanks for your message! The Citibank PayPass feature was discontinued on all products (excluding Costco) in July 2016. It has largely been replaced by features such as Apple pay and Samsung Pay.

      I hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

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