Buyers can now make payments of up to £ 100 with a single tap on their card.
The contactless card payment limit has been increased from £ 45 to £ 100, although terminals at many retailers will need to be updated so that the option is not available everywhere immediately.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), some retailers can take “days, weeks or even months” to make the necessary changes. Customers will therefore need to check with each store.
The increase from Friday marks the fifth time the limit has been raised, after initially being set at £ 10 in 2007.
The limit was raised to £ 45 in April 2020, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some stores have restricted the ability of people to pay cash during the crisis, although Bank of England research suggests the risk of catching Covid-19 from banknotes is low.
Between January and July, 60% of all debit and credit card transactions in the UK were contactless, according to the UK Finance trade association.
This represented 6.6 billion payments, worth £ 81.4 billion.
Figures from UK Finance also show that in 2016 only 7% of all payments, including cash, were made with contactless cards.
By 2018, that figure had grown to almost one in five (19%) transactions and by 2020, more than a quarter (27%) of all payments were made using contactless cards.
Some banks will allow people to set their own contactless card limits under £ 100, or turn contactless off altogether.
David Postings, Managing Director of UK Finance, said: “The new £ 100 limit gives customers more choice over how they pay for things like their weekly store or a tank of fuel.
“Contactless payments have become increasingly popular and the payments industry has worked hard to ensure that retailers are able to offer customers the new higher limit. “
The decision to increase the contactless limit from £ 45 to £ 100 was taken by the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following public consultation and discussions with the retail and consumer sectors. the bank.
However, the move raised concerns about the potential for fraud.
An FCA spokesperson said the rules had been changed to help the industry continue “to respond to new ways people prefer to pay.”
He said: ‘The data available on the fraud rate suggests that there is no significant increase in contactless payment fraud since the industry increased the limit to £ 45 in April 2020. Additionally, we have not seen any significant increase in fraudulent transactions in other countries where the contactless limit increased to the equivalent of £ 100 or more.
“Businesses need to make sure they’re working to reduce the risk of unauthorized transactions and fraud and need tools to monitor fraudulent transactions. As the limit increases, we will continue to monitor the data closely. “
UK Finance said people should always contact their bank immediately if their card is lost or stolen or if they notice any strange transactions on their account.
Under fraud protection rules, people can request a refund if someone else makes an unauthorized payment from their account; for example, after their card has been stolen.
The cards also have a built-in security check, so after a certain amount of contactless spending or a certain number of transactions made, customers will be required to enter their PIN code.
Sarah Pennells, Consumer Credit Specialist at Royal London, said: “Although contactless card fraud is relatively low, it can be distressing for those who experience it.
“You should treat your contactless card the same way you would treat cash in your pocket, so be careful when using it and don’t give it to anyone else. “
Tony Neate, Head of Get Safe Online said: “Over the past 18 months, as we have lived through the pandemic, contactless payments have been an ideal way to pay for products in a world where we have wanted to minimize the burden. cross contamination and touch.
“While increasing the limit to £ 100 brings significant benefits, some might understandably be concerned about the potential risk involved.
“If you are concerned about the potential exposure to theft this causes, there are a few simple steps you can take. “
He said people might be able to apply for a contactless card and added, “Second, if you enjoy the benefits of contactless, but are unsure of the higher cap, again contact your bank or your provider and ask if the contactless cap can be reduced and set to a level that works for you on your specific card. Not all banks offer this service, but many do, so if you’re more happy with this approach, just ask.
Andrew Cregan, Payments Policy Advisor at the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘As the UK’s contactless limit rises to £ 100 on Friday, some retailers can take days, weeks or even months to make the changes. needed by their systems so that the new limit can take effect.
“In addition, some retailers may choose not to adopt the new contactless limit. As a result, customers will need to be careful when making payments to check what the maximum contactless limit is for individual stores. “
Martin Kearsley, Banking Director of Post Office, said: “While contactless payments have undoubtedly speeded up transactions in some stores and pubs, we know that small businesses in particular are recognizing the value for money more than ever before. liquid and that many consumers rely on to budget effectively.
“Over £ 1 billion is deposited by companies each month at our branches. While some places don’t use cash, post offices will still offer cash services, including the ability to withdraw the amount of money a customer needs down to the penny. “
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