Aug 27, 2021
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UK to raise contactless payment limit to £100

Aug 27, 2021

In a major move to make shopping easier, a new £100 spending limit for contactless payments in Britain will start on October 15, after the go-ahead was given by the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority on Friday.

Touchwood shopping centre, Solihull

Contactless payments have been hugely popular since they were first introduced and the pandemic only added to their appeal. But the spending limit hadn’t kept pace with consumer expectations in previous years and it was only raised to £45 from £30 because of shops being unwilling to take cash during the pandemic. 

The new £100 limit should help to speed up queues in many more stores as consumers will now be able to use contactless for more substantial basket sizes in stores. It's likely to be used more often in fashion stores than previously.

Of course, with fears that a higher contactless payment limit could encourage crime, there will be safeguards. At present, there’s a £130 threshold at which a shopper must start to enter their PIN number if they’ve been making multiple contactless purchases. This won’t be practical for a £100 limit, so that threshold is being raised to £300.

The mid-October date will only be the start of the rollout as banking body UK Finance said that “given the number of terminals which will need to be updated to accept the new limit, it will take some time to be introduced across all retailers”.

Even with the lower spending limit at present, contactless payments already accounted for just about half of all credit card and two-thirds of all debit card transactions in May, UK Finance said. That was double the same month a year earlier, although given that the UK was still in full lockdown back then, it’s not the most useful comparison figure.

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