As you say, they can only make attempts - the wireless side of the card can only be skimmed, it cannot be cloned, every transaction is unique, so the data that was skimmed cannot be used to make another successful contactless debit from the account.
Normally they skim then make payments using the data gleaned but this is only the number and expiry date, the CVV and PIN numbers are not stored on the card - if a retailer accepts a an electronic payment without a CVV or PIN number then the retailer ends up footing the cost if its a fraudulent payment.
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