Contactless card payment limit to change in emergency move amid coronavirus pandemic

The contactless card payment limit in shops is to increase by £15 to a new limit of £45 as part of measures to combat coronavirus, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said. Currently, the limit for in-store card payments via contactless is £30.


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The BRC has said the move will reduce the need for physical contact with devices where people need to input their PIN.

By increasing the limit from £30 to £45, more transactions will be able to be made without handling cash.

The new limit will be operational at some stores across the UK from April 1, however it may take some time before it can be applied more widely, the BRC said.

For instance, it may be that it takes longer to roll out at retailers currently operating at peak capacity.

UK Finance said that the changes were already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Consumers who are spending more than £45 in one transaction are reminded that there are many ways to choose to pay.

This includes through Chip & PIN, cash, and alternatives such as mobile payments which do not have an upper limit when authenticated via biometric technologies.

BRC head of payments policy, Andrew Cregan, 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 smart phone.”

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, 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.”

Delivering a speech which aired on the TV at 8.30pm last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a UK lockdown – an emergency measure which will last at least three weeks.

During the statement, Mr Johnson said: “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

“That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

“You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

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