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Mastercard PayPass

Make fast and secure payments without entering your PIN.

Updated

Fact checked

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 Mastercard PayPass

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% 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
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
14.99% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
14.99% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
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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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