Contactless card payment limit increase: When will limit increase?

Contactless card payment limits will increase soon as part of the Government’s initiative to tackle the spread of COVID-19. The partnership between businesses and UK officials will prevent “unnecessary” physical contact already included in social distancing measures.

When will the contactless card limit increase?

The current contactless limit is £30 in the UK, which applies across the country’s banks.

The coronavirus pandemic has left the country searching for new ways to cut contact, one of which is extending the limit to £45 to help people buy more items without needing to handle card terminals.

The new limit will come into effect from Wednesday, April 1.


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Not every shop will be able to implement the changes immediately, according to Andrew Cregan, head of payments policy at the British Retail Consortium.

He said: “The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled out from next week.

“Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under.

“In the meantime, most customers can continue to make contactless payments for higher amounts using their smartphone.”

The UK changes were introduced by UK Finance, which represents more than 250 firms across the UK banking and finance sector.

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said the decision would give more people the chance to opt for “speed and convenience” when shopping.

He said: “The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.

“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.”

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“The industry continues to work closely with the government and regulators to support customers impacted by COVID-19 and ensure that they can pay in a way that suits them.”

Mobile phone and Apple Pay users will continue to use the same limits as before, which are decided by their respective banks and Apple settings.

For shops to make use of the new limit, they have to install software changes to their current machines, a process which may take some time to implement.

The UK will follow several other European countries which have implemented similar changes due to COVID-19.

Ireland will also raise its contactless limit from €30 (£27.50) to €50 (£44.20) from April.

The changes aim to stop people from handling cash during the pandemic, which can facilitate the spread of viruses and bacteria.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advised against using currency and asked people to wash their hands if they have no choice but to do so.

The organisation added the risks of handling currency compare to touching “any other common surface”.

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