Frequently Asked Questions

 Discover® Network
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is contactless payment technology
gaining in popularity?
Is contactless payment technology the same as
RFID (radio frequency identification) technology?
Contactless is the latest innovation in payments.
Consumers enjoy faster checkouts and convenient,
secure transactions without handing their cards to
store clerks. It is the foundation for “next generation”
functionalities such as loyalty programs and reward
redemptions. Contactless payment expansion will
continue as card portfolios expand and as existing
cards become enabled for contactless payments.
No, there is a wide range of radio frequency (RF)
technologies used for a variety of applications. RFID
technologies are designed to operate over longer
ranges (approximately 25 feet) and typically provide
minimal security and privacy support. Contactless card
payment technology is designed to operate at a very
short range (less than two inches) and supports the
security capabilities required for financial services.*
Can Discover® Network Zip be integrated into
mobile phones?
What security standards do contactless
payments follow?
Yes, cardholders can use their mobile phones to make
purchases with Discover Network Zip. Zip can also be
integrated into other payment devices, such as key
chain fobs and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
To help minimize your exposure to fraudulent activity,
Discover Network Zip uses security features unique
to contactless cards. A random authorization value is
generated with each transaction which further protects
cardholder data. Discover Network also adheres to
the international standard adopted for contactless
payments (ISO/IEC14443).
Will contactless payment cards be used
anywhere other than the traditional,
face-to-face point of sale?
Contactless payments acceptance is growing in
locations that typically rely on quick checkouts and
cash payments. Contactless payments may also
expand to emerging merchant segments such as
unattended parking, transit (subway station
turnstiles, etc.) and other non-retail merchants.*
*Smart Card Alliance: Contactless Payments, FAQs, 02/07
For Merchants
©2008 DFS Services LLC ZP-FAQ-M-1/08
IOP# 12529
What is the difference between biometric
technology and contactless payments?
Biometric technology relies on a finger scan to verify a
cardholder’s identity for a transaction authorization.
With contactless payments, a cardholder authorizes
a transaction by using radio frequency technology to
transfer account information from a payment device,
such as a card, key chain fob or mobile phone to a
point-of-sale reader.
Discover® Network
Is contactless payment technology available for
both credit and debit cards?
Yes, contactless payment technology can be added
to any payment card product—credit, debit and
prepaid programs.
Is there a common merchant point-of-sale (POS)
acceptance mark for contactless payments?
Yes, American Express®, Discover Network,
MasterCard® and Visa® use a common acceptance
symbol that also helps consumers easily recognize
a contactless payments reader. Contactless payments
readers will also include an additional Discover®
Network ZipSM overlay to promote its acceptance.
Will a single POS terminal be available to
accept both Discover Network Zip and other
contactless payments?
Yes. Discover Network, MasterCard, Visa and
American Express will all offer POS payment
solutions that support the same standard for radio
frequency (RF) cards—ISO 14443 A/B.
You must have peripheral readers/integrated
terminals configured for all payment brands you
want to accept.
Are there costs to upgrade a POS terminal/solution
for accepting contactless payments?
In addition to traditional countertop terminals,
readers are available for a range of specialty
environments, including fuel pumps, ticket
windows and drive-throughs.
If a consumer has multiple contactless payments
devices (cards, fobs, etc.), how does the
contactless payment reader know which payment
device to read?
The contactless POS software prevents multiple
devices from being read. To ensure a deliberate
card read, a single contactless payment device
must be placed within two inches of the reader.
Do Discover Network Zip transactions require
a signature?
At merchants belonging to certain Merchant
Category Codes (MCCs), transactions under
$25* will not require a signature, following the
same rule as traditional magnetic stripe payments.
Is the information passed in a contactless payment
transaction the same as the track data of a
magnetic stripe card?
Like magnetic stripe transactions, contactless
payments utilize ISO 8583 track data. However, they
use specific contactless transaction data elements:
the POS entry mode value; the service type code; and
the discretionary data information.
There is an incremental cost. The expense depends
on your existing infrastructure and your POS
contactless acceptance solution choice. Contact
your POS solution provider for exact costs.
Can contactless payment transactions be
distinguished from other transactions in the
payment system?
What types of readers and POS systems accept
Discover Network Zip?
Yes, Discover Network has implemented new
indicator requirements and other unique identifiers
to distinguish contactless payment transactions
from traditional card payment transactions.
Two basic types of readers are available: Peripheral
Contactless Readers (PCRs) that plug into existing
conventional POS terminals; and Integrated
Contactless Readers (ICRs) that replace traditional
readers, offering both magnetic-stripe and
contactless-reading capabilities.
*Refer to the Discover Network Operating Regulations for more details.
©2008 DFS Services LLC ZP-FAQ-M-1/08
IOP# 12529
Contact your Discover Network Relationship
Manager for more information about accepting
Discover Network Zip payments.
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