How Safe is Your Money?

Algarve Life - Amanda Gleaves
3 min readAug 11, 2018


Apparently, Contactless Cards can still be used months after they are cancelled.

The other day I was doing some shopping and just before I left the store I thought I would top up the cash on my phone. Here in Portugal it can be done very conveniently at an ATM machine.

I opened my purse to take out my card and realized that it was not in its usual spot, so I looked in another pocket, and another. Nope. No card. I had to think back to when I last used it and I wasn’t sure if it was to pay a bill or to check my statement. I wasn’t even sure when I had used it. I was pretty sure I would find it at home, tucked in an envelope with a bill I had paid.

I got home and hunted for the said card. It was nowhere to be found! Next step was to cancel it. I was now sure that I had left it in the ATM machine at the bank, but as it was Saturday morning and the banks were closed so there was no way of checking until Monday. My only immediate measure would be to cancel it. So I phoned them up and asked them if they could tell me when it was last used.

They said that they could not give me that information without a special code and that I could go to the bank and obtain one on Monday. Hmm, that did not seem like an immediate solution so the card was cancelled.

After the call, curiosity got the better of me and I researched about contactless cards and called my bank to see just how much money somebody can get out of your account without a PIN, in a day. I had found what I thought to be the last slip of paper with my statement and it seemed that I had used my card 6 days earlier…so this meant that somebody could be popping into stores all over the city making small purchases. Some article even said the card could be used even after being cancelled (as the transaction is not done directly with the bank as the time of sale) The thing that concerned me is that it was quite likely that I had lost the card 6 days ago and had only now become aware of it.

I checked with my bank and the limit on my card was 60€ a day. The bank assured me that to be able to use the card by simple passing it over the micro ITM, I would have had to have previously used my PIN in there before. Okay, well that is a no-brainer as I am sure I have used my PIN for purchases in most of them in my area.

“So let me get this straight — if somebody has my card and decides to use it like that they can take up to 60€ a day out of my account”.

“Yes, but there is a limit of 20€ in each store”.

“Okay, so they could go to three…”. (Maybe I was over thinking it)

The man I was talking to seemed stumped. I was told that any money coming out after the cancellation can be refunded.

So I ask, is Contacless really a good idea?

I never did find my card…




Algarve Life - Amanda Gleaves

I have been living in the Algarve in Portugal since 1989! I have been teaching Portuguese to foreigners for nearly 20 years!