Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What is an EMV chip card, and how can this technology help my business?

A: The EMV chip card is a card embedded with a computer chip. They are simple to use and accept, and give cardholders increased convenience and security. These cards can even keep track of purchases, offering retailers and service providers marketing opportunities.

Q: Are chip cards new?

A: Although chip cards are relatively new in the United States, they have been used elsewhere for many years. In some countries, particularly in Europe, merchants may be more familiar with accepting chip cards.  

Q: How is a chip card different from a magnetic stripe card?

A: A chip card looks just like a traditional card but it has an embedded chip. Rather than swiping your card, you insert your chip card into the terminal to complete the transaction. Your card may also have contactless capabilities so you can tap your card at checkout when given the option.

Q: What are chip cards?

A: A chip card is like the card you have today, but includes an embedded microchip. The chip contains information that is encrypted making it extremely difficult for the card to be copied or counterfeited. Your chip card will also have a magnetic stripe on the back, so that you can continue using your card while merchants are transitioning to new chip-enabled terminals.

Q: What are the benefits of chip?

A: The embedded microchip provides robust security features and other capabilities that are not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards. A chip card is virtually impossible to counterfeit.

Q: Where can I use my chip card?

A: Use your chip card at the same merchants you do now -- either by inserting the card into terminals that are chip-enabled or swiping your card. You can also continue to use your card as you did before for online payments, telephone payments and at ATMs.

Q: Who do I contact if I want more information?

A: For more information about your chip card, please contact your financial institution.

Q: Why is my card being upgraded to a chip card?

A: Chip cards are being introduced in the United States after much success in other parts of the world. Your new chip card provides added security.

Q: What's my PIN?

A: The PIN on your chip card is the same PIN as on your previous card. If you forgot your PIN or want to change it, please contact your financial institution.

Q: How does chip work?

A: Whether your card is inserted in the terminal or tapped, the chip communicates with the terminal to determine whether the card is authentic. Typically, the terminal will prompt you to enter a PIN to validate your identity. Once approved, your transaction will be complete.

Q: How do I know if my chip card has Mastercard contactless?

A: Cards that have contactless capabilities will have the word "contactless" and may also have a contactless symbol on the card. You can tap to pay at merchants that have the following symbol or contactless on the terminal:   

If a merchant does not have this functionality, you will need to insert your chip card into the terminal and enter your PIN.

Q: Why does my credit card have a PIN?

A: Your credit card has a PIN in order to provide you with the latest security features. By entering your PIN, you validate that you are the authorized user of the card. You will not be charged a fee to use your PIN unless you are using your credit card to get a cash advance at the ATM.

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Q: What is a co-brand card program?

A: A co-brand program is a partnership that brings together Mastercard, a Mastercard-issuing financial institution and a suitable partner company wishing to grow its business. The three parties work together to create a card program that is then marketed to the partner company's customer base. A co-brand card is a form of payment that offers added value to the partner's customers.

Q: What kinds of businesses have successful co-brand programs?

A: Many different industries have successfully implemented co-brand programs including airlines, gas companies, automotive companies, warehouse clubs and supermarkets. One thing these companies have in common is a growing base of customers who purchase products or services on a recurring basis.

Q: Who is responsible for promoting a co-brand card?

A: The level of support provided and the degree of responsibility for designing and implementing the solicitations and card promotions will depend on the agreement reached between the partner and the card issuer. Mastercard has many different levels of support and expertise available to help a company market its co-brand card and grow its business.

Q: What does a Mastercard co-brand card look like?

A: Mastercard rules permit the partner's logo to be a dominant feature on the face of the card. The cards also carry the Mastercard logo and must conform to certain Mastercard design standards. The name of the Mastercard issuing financial institution may appear, but it is not required. This and other card design details will be determined by the partner and the card issuer.

Q: How do I find an issuer for a co-brand alliance?

A: The first place to begin is with a bank or financial institution with which your company already has a relationship. Or, Mastercard can provide a list of potential financial institutions from among the thousands we have done business with over the years.

Q: What role does Mastercard play in developing a co-brand program?

A: That depends on the goals and budget of the partner company. However, Mastercard has a dedicated staff of highly experienced co-brand specialists who can help a company evaluate and establish a co-brand partnership that will meet the objectives of all parties involved.

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Consumer FAQs

      

Q: What is Mastercard contactless?

A: Mastercard contactless is like having exact change wherever you go. A simple tap of your card, key fob or smart phone is all it takes to pay at checkout.

Q: Why should I use contactless?

A: There are many benefits to contactless payments:

  • It's like having exact change wherever you go, so you don't have to worry about carrying around cash or fishing for coins.
  • You are in control because your contactless-enabled card or device never leaves your hand at checkout.
  • You get better record keeping of all your purchases than you do when using cash.
  • It's fast and ideal at places where speed is essential, like stadiums, fast food restaurants, gas stations and more.
Q: Where can I make contactless payments?

A: Anywhere you see the contactless symbol at checkout  you can simply tap to pay. This includes fast food restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, stadiums and more.

Find participating locations

If you don't see the symbol, your contactless-enabled card can still be used by inserting your chip card or swiping at checkout.

Q: How do I pay with Mastercard contactless?

A: To make a purchase, simply tap your Mastercard contactless card, key fob or smart phone on the payment reader at the checkout of participating retail locations.

Find participating locations

Q: Can I use my contactless card or device on payment readers that don't display the contactless logo?

A: You can make contactless payments on any contactless payment reader that displays this symbol . You may also use contactless cards in magnetic stripe readers by swiping the card. 

Q: How close does the "tap" have to be to the checkout reader?

A: Typically, when you tap your card/device at checkout, it must be within an inch or two of the contactless symbol on the terminal at the counter. Please note that if you have more than one contactless card in your wallet, you should remove the specific card you would like to use rather than tapping your wallet against the reader.

Q: How will purchases appear on my monthly statement?

A: Purchases made with contactless will be displayed on your statement just like any other purchase you make with a card.

Q: How does it work?

A: Contactless uses a hidden embedded computer chip and radio frequency antennae. After you tap your contactless card or device at checkout, payment details are sent wirelessly to the Mastercard network. If using a mobile phone, moments after you tap, you'll receive payment confirmation and be on your way.

Q: Do I have to treat my Mastercard contactless card or device in any special way?

A: Treat your contactless card or device as you would any other credit, debit or prepaid card. Always know where your contactless card or device is and keep it in a safe place. And be sure to keep a record of all of your card numbers, expiration dates and emergency phone numbers.

Q: Is there a battery?

A: No, there is no battery.

Q: Do I need to turn it on/off?

A: If you have a contactless-enabled mobile phone, you can turn it on or off. If you are using contactless card or fob, it is always on and ready to use.

Q: Is it safe?

A: Yes. Contactless payments provide secure encryption technology and Zero Liability protection and are as safe as your regular card.

  • You are in control – your contactless-enabled card or device never leaves your hands to make a payment
  • No accidental payments – your contactless-enabled card or device must be close to the reader at checkout to work
  • Not billed twice – even if you tap more than once at checkout, you'll only get billed once for your purchase

More about security

Q: Why aren't signatures required?

A: To ensure that using contactless is as simple and convenient as cash, merchants that accept contactless do not require you to sign for small purchases (HK$1,000 or below). However, for your protection, purchases over HK$1,000 generally require a signature or PIN.

Q: What do I do if my contactless card or device has been lost or stolen?

A: If you have lost your card or suspect unauthorized activity on your account, contact the financial institution that issued your card immediately. If you don't know your card issuer's number, contact Mastercard and we will assist you in finding that information.

Q: Questions not answered here?

A: If your question is not listed, we recommend that you contact the financial institution that issued your account as only they hold information specific to your account. Typically, there is a customer service number for your financial institution on the back of the card. You can always contact the Mastercard Assistance Center toll free at 800-966677.

Merchant FAQs

      

Q: What is Mastercard contactless?

A: Mastercard contactless is like having exact change wherever you go. A simple tap of your card is all it takes to pay at checkout.

Q: How does it work?

A: Contactless uses a hidden embedded computer chip and radio frequency antennae. After you tap your contactless card or device at checkout, payment details are sent wirelessly to the Mastercard network. If using a mobile phone, moments after you tap, you'll receive payment confirmation and be on your way.

Q: How will accepting Mastercard contactless benefit my business?

A: Contactless acceptance is proven to bring many benefits for merchants including:

  • Faster check-out
  • Promotes higher average spend
  • Reduces costs related to cash handling
  • Enables POS for mobile NFC and new digital payment devices like wearables
Q: What type of merchants can benefit the most from contactless acceptance?

A: Contactless acceptance is an excellent choice for any merchant, especially in environments where speed and convenience are valued or where cash is currently the dominant payment method. Examples include fast food outlets, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Q: Is Mastercard contactless secure?

A: Yes, Mastercard contactless transactions are processed through the same financial payments network that processes billions of Mastercard magnetic stripe and chip card transaction each year.

Mastercard contactless security mechanisms are designed to:

  • Protect against counterfeit cards.
  • Implement an efficient anti-replay mechanism for contactless transactions.
  • Limit the impact of fraudulent capture of contactless data by fraudsters across all environments.

Even if the customer happens to tap twice by mistake, the technology ensures that consumer is bill once.

Q: Is it possible to make refunds to a contactless card, form factor and mobile phone?

A: Yes, it’s possible to issue a refund to customers by tapping the contactless payment device in the same manner as making a purchase. Please follow your store’s refund policy.

Q: Does contactless payment acceptance change the payment guarantee for the merchant?

A: No, if a contactless payment is authorized, online or offline, the merchant still receives a payment guarantee, even for transactions below the contactless CVM limit with no cardholder verification.

Q: What are the costs involved?

A: Cost will vary depending in the selected solution. To accept contactless payments, merchants can choose to implement a plug-in peripheral reader or a fully integrated POS or Stand-alone POS system.

Q: How is accepting mobile payments different than accepting cards?

A: To the cashier, mobile payments will look like contactless card payment; except the customer may verify their Mobile PIN, biometric or pattern recognition on the mobile device.

Q: How does the payment verification process work for contactless?

A: For transactions up-to the country established contactless cardholder verification limit, no PIN or signature is required for cards and form factors. For purchases above this limit, PIN code or signature is required.  For a purchase conducted with a mobile phone, the consumer will normally authenticate themselves on the mobile device with a Mobile PIN, biometric or pattern recognition.

Q: How would a customer know that contactless payments can be made at a location?

A: The point of sale (POS) reader must display the contactless acceptance symbol . Many merchants display POS signage highlighting contactless acceptance as well. 

In addition, within two months of a merchant’s first Mastercard contactless transaction, the merchant’s name and address should appear on the Mastercard Contactless Locator website.

Q: What other documents are available to help merchants deploy contactless payments?

A: The Contactless Toolkit for Merchants and How to Optimize the Consumer Contactless Experience – The Perfect Tap are your guide for successfully deploying a Mastercard contactless program. These documents are available on mastercard.com/contactless. For additional resources, including the Mastercard Terminal Integration process guide (M-TIP Process Guide), please contact your acquiring bank.

Q: Could customers unknowingly make a purchase if they walk past the reader?

A: No, you have to activate the terminal first and the cashier must enter the payment amount to activate the contactless terminal. In addition, the card or device has to be held within 2 cm (1 inch) of the terminal.

Q: Does the merchant need to print a receipt for all contactless transactions?

A: No, you’re not required to print a receipt for low value transactions unless your customers asks for a receipt.

Q: What is the transaction limit for Mastercard contactless cards?

A: Contactless payments should be accepted for all amounts, the same as traditional card payment.

Q: What if the cash register doesn’t respond?

A: Try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure the terminal and adaptors are all turned on and plugged in. A light, wording or graphics on the screen should indicate the terminal is turned on.
  • If your terminal is a non-integrated terminal with a separate contactless reader, make sure that the contactless reader is lit up after the transaction is registered. The light may not turn on before then.
  • Register the transaction again as you would for a card transaction and ask your customers to tap again. Make sure their card/device is within 2 cm (1 inch) from the terminal and you hear a beep or see a change in the light.
  • If your terminal is still not responding, contact the terminal manufacturer or distributor. 
Q: How does Mastercard contactless technology work for mobile devices?

A: At checkout, your customers will need to follow the prompts on their device (this varies depending on the type of device) and then simply tap their device correctly over the terminal. When paying with a mobile phone, your customer normally authenticate themselves on the mobile device with a PIN, biometric or pattern recognition.

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Q: Where can I get a Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card?

A: It's easy to find the Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card that's right for you. They are available at participating stores and online.

Q: Do I have to activate and register my prepaid card before using it?

A: Activation and registration requirements vary, so check your card packaging for detailed instructions. To take advantage of the reload function and card benefits such as zero liability or card replacement, you will need to register your card.

Q: How do I use a Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card?

A: When you're ready to make a purchase, give the cashier your card or, if asked, swipe your card at the terminal. The purchase amount will automatically be deducted from the card balance.

Q: Where can I use my Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card?

A: You can use your Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card anywhere that Debit Mastercard is accepted - that's millions of locations worldwide from retail stores to online, mail and phone orders. You can also use your card to pay bills online.

Q: My available card balance will not cover my purchase amount. Can I still use my prepaid card?

A: Yes, just tell the cashier in advance how much to deduct from your prepaid card and how much you will pay using an alternate payment method. Note that this process, known as "split tender," may not be supported by all merchants.

Q: How do I return an item that was purchased on a Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card?

A: When you make a return, the cashier may ask to see your card. The value of the returned merchandise will be credited back to the card.

Q: I can't find my Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card. What should I do?

A: If you registered your Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card, your issuer can use the information you provided during registration to issue a replacement card. Be sure to keep a record of the card number.

Contact the issuer of your card immediately to report the lost or stolen card. You can also contact Emergency Services for additional assistance.

Q: How do I add funds to my card?

A: After you register your Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card, the best way to add funds to your card is to set up direct deposit of your paycheck. Take your card's direct deposit information to your employer to have your paycheck automatically put on your card each payday. Direct deposit information varies, so check your card packaging or contact the card issuer.

You can also add money to your card at participating retail locations. Check your card packaging or contact the card issuer to find out which retailers are supported. 

Q: Where can I get a Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card?

A: Mastercard Prepaid Gift Cards are available at bank branches and retail locations, as well as online and via phone. There are many card styles to choose from, some of which can be customized with unique designs, the recipient's name and personal messages. It's easy to find the prepaid gift card that's right for you.

Q: I received a Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card. Do I need to activate or register my card before using it?

A: Check your gift card, the receipt or related packaging for any specific activation instructions. Many Mastercard Prepaid Gift Cards sold in retail locations are automatically activated when the card is purchased. Call the customer service number on the back of the card if you have questions about how to activate the card. For online and telephone purchases, you may need to register your card with the card issuer. 

Q: How do I use a Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card?

A: When you're ready to make your purchase, give the cashier your card or, if asked, swipe your card. The purchase amount will automatically be deducted from the card balance.

Q: Where can I use my Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card?

A: You can use your Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted - that's millions of locations worldwide from retail stores to online, mail and phone orders. You can also use your card to pay bills online.

Q:  How long can I use my Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card?

A:  You can make purchases on your prepaid gift card until the value of the card has been depleted, or until the expiration date shown on the card.

Q:  What happens if I need to return an item purchased using my Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card?

A:  When making a return, you may be asked to show the card that was used to make the purchase. The value of the returned merchandise will be credited back to your card.

Q: How do prepaid travel cards work?

A: Prepaid travel cards work just like all Mastercard prepaid cards, which means you can spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. You can shop in stores, online or over the phone. As you make purchases with the card, funds are immediately deducted from the available card balance. You can continue to use your card until the card balance has been depleted or until the expiration date shown on the card.

You might want to check your card balance before you shop since the merchant or service provider may not be able to retrieve this information for you. 

Q: How can I get the balance on my prepaid travel card?

A: Depending on your card, you may be able to check your balance on the issuer's Web site. Certain merchants will also have the ability to read your card's balance for you.

Q: What if my card is lost or stolen?

A: Contact the issuer of your card immediately to report a lost or stolen card. There is a customer service number listed on the back of the card. Be sure to keep a record of the Mastercard Travel Card number. Your issuer may need this information to cancel the card and issue a replacement. 

Q: How do I get my Mastercard prepaid card balance?

A: You can get your balance by following the instructions provided with your card. Generally, this includes either visiting the card issuer's Web site or by calling the phone number on the back of the card.

Q: Questions not answered here?

A: If your question is not listed, we recommend that you contact the financial institution that issued your account as only they hold information specific to your account. Typically, there is a customer service number for your financial institution on the back of the card. You can always contact the Mastercard Assistance Center toll free at 800-966677.

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