Coronavirus: Contactless limit increases to £45 to reduce spread of bacteria

24 March 2020, 08:27

By raising the contactless payment limit, it will reduce the amount of cash being handled and the need for people to physically input their Pin
By raising the contactless payment limit, it will reduce the amount of cash being handled and the need for people to physically input their Pin. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

The limit for contactless payments is set to rise from £30 to £45 as a measure to reduce contact with cash and card machines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This new limit will be available in some shops from 1 April, but will take a little longer to be rolled out at others "given the strain they're under", according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

It seeks to reduce queues in shops, the amount of cash being handled and the time customers spend physically inputting their Pin number to machines.

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Trade association UK Finance said the increase of £15 was something already being considered, but the decision had been accelerated due to the pandemic.

BRC head of payments policy Andrew Keegan noted that it took two years for the initial limit to be increased to its current rate of £30, but that "extraordinary circumstances" had pushed the increase forward.

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He said: "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."

Meanwhile, Stephen Jones, the chief executive 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.

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"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.

"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."

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More than £80bn was spent using contactless payments last year, according to UK Finance, which is a 16% increase on the year prior.

UK Finance also reassured against a possible rise in fraud crime and said that contactless fraud represents just 3.3% of overall card fraud losses.

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