Home Opinion and Features Drip, drip, tap, tap

Drip, drip, tap, tap


Grey mutter

File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

For a dog to bark from around 3am to around 4.30am must mean that the poor mutt was terribly traumatised. However, I needed my sleep so I didn’t care about his trauma.

The first time I checked it was just after 3am, and he’d already been barking for a while. By around 3.30am I tried to listen to some music to put me to sleep. But it was hopeless, there was that barely audible, but incessant “woof-woof, yap yap woof”. It sounded like the Morse code equivalent of “no sleep for you this morning”.

When I eventually got up at 6am I can swear I heard snoring; his mission done that monster was now sleeping peacefully.

There are few things worse than knowing you’re losing sleep because of an agitated canine; except maybe knowing that you’re losing gallons of water while the faucet’s dripping keeps you awake. It’s quite alarming to know that if water dripped from a tap once every second all day, it would only take four and a half hours to exceed three and a half litres. Every day you would waste almost 20 litres, and if it’s not fixed that works out to or 7 900 litres in a year.

And yet that’s not the tap that worries me most You see, recently while doing grocery shopping, a chill ran down my spine when the cashier – instead of inserting my card into the point-of-sale device and asking me to key in my secret PIN – simply tapped my card on the machine and handed my card back to me.

“What? No PIN,” I enquired, and she gave me a blank stare.

Now, I had read about contactless card transactions. According to the marketing material from the bank, the beauty and security of this feature is that “your card never leaves your hand”, as you can simply “tap and go” which would be fine if there was a guarantee that there was no way on earth that your card could fall into someone else’s hands EVER!

So what happens if your card is lost or stolen? Well, as soon as you discover that your card is gone you can cancel it immediately or call the bank which means listening to hold-music, while the person in possession of your card merrily taps away; and then you have the privilege of paying for a replacement card. You can also dispute transactions made with the card of course, this means having to scrutinise your bank statement every month O joy!

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the contactless feature cannot be deactivated – you’re stuck with it. It’s up to you to make sure that your card is not tapped if you don’t want it tapped. On Saturday evening I filled up my car’s tank ahead of the expected fuel rise and the attendant simply tapped my card to deduct over R600 from my account, after I HANDED my card to him.

When I HAND OVER my card, my understanding is that the card IS leaving my hand, meaning that I do not WISH to tap has it become the bank’s clients’ responsibility to go around training merchants, attendants and cashiers of the protocols surrounding the new “convenient” contactless cards? It makes me shudder.

Do you want some more “good” news? There is no limit for contactless transactions.

You can perform high or low transactions like a normal card transaction; however, due to security reasons a merchant is free to (not obligated to) request for the PIN to be entered from time to time.

Let me assure you it’s probably not going to be a barking dog keeping me awake at night from now on!