State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest bank, has introduced contactless card payments technology that allows payments by waving or tapping of the cards near the machines.

“The bank, and its credit card subsidiary – SBI Card – have launched the sbiINTOUCH Contactless Debit Card and SBI Signature Contactless Credit Card for quick, secure and hassle-free payments at merchant outlets. Contactless cards use the near-field communication (NFC) technology, enabling users to make payments by waving or tapping the card near the contactless reader instead of swiping or dipping it,” SBI said in a statement.

At present, customers can make payments up to Rs 2,000 per tap and pay transactions at select point-of-sale (POS) machines. Reducing the risk of card loss and fraud, the customers can tap or wave the card at the POS machine, enter the pin, and complete the payment transaction at busy locations, the bank said.

“We have asked the RBI to increase the limit of the maximum value per transaction to Rs 5,000 (from Rs 2,000 at present) to enable more small value transactions, using contactless method... I am confident that this trend will continue to grow and expand across newer channels such as smartphones,” said Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman and Managing Director, SBI.

Contactless cards are designed to replace the use of cash in busy retail environments such as supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations and quick-service restaurants.

At present, SBI has about 5,000 such NFC-enabled POS machines in major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. The bank plans to further increase the number of POS machines to 1 lakh and convert existing machines into NFC-enabled.

The bank has 2.20 lakh POS machines across the country.

Bhattacharya said it has tied up with select outlets such as Tata Starbucks, Shoppers’ Stop, and Reliance Retail, among others, to enable this facility... “We plan to expand this facility to more places such as hospitals, campuses, etc.,” she said.

The contactless logo [ )))) ] will be visible on all contactless cards as well as point of sale (POS) terminals enabled by NFC technology. Adding to consumer safety, the Signature Contactless credit cards will come with emergency card replacement facility anywhere in the world and fraud liability cover of Rs 1 lakh, the bank said.

The card can also be used as a regular debit or credit card.