Tap-and-go is a contactless payment service that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Tap-and-go cards use NFC technology as mobile wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. When a card is tap card reader or terminal, a smart card chip and an antenna in the card send a token via radio waves to complete your purchase.

Tap-and-go credit cards provide about the same level of security as EMV chip cards but more convenience. EMV chips, which came to the U.S. just a few years ago, are much more secure than magnetic strips (magstripes) on the back of cards.

That token is a random set of numbers and symbols that represents your card data and is distinct for each purchase. This means that if a fraudster steals your transaction data, it can’t be used again to make an unauthorized purchase. It also can’t be reverse engineered to get back to your card number.

The same process happens when you insert your card into a chip reader, except tap-and-go cards are much faster. An EMV transaction takes about 30 seconds, while a contactless payment takes between 13 and 15 seconds.

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