The spending limit for contactless card payments will be increased from £30 to £45, with a national roll-out beginning from April 1, 2020, UK Finance has announced.
The decision to raise the limit was taken in consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry, following similar increases in several other European countries over the past week.
UK Finance said the changes were already under consideration by the industry, but the process was expedited as part of the industry’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless at this time.
From April 1, 2020, consumers will begin to see an increasing number of retailers accepting contactless card payments up to the new £45 limit. Given the pace at which the change is being rolled out, the new limits will take some time to be introduced across all retailers, including some of those facing additional pressure due to the outbreak.
For consumers spending more than £45, the usual methods of payment remain in place, for example through chip and PIN, cash and alternatives such as mobile payments which do not have an upper limit when authenticated through biometric technologies.
It is hoped that the increase in the limit will help curtail the spread of the virus as fewer customers will have to use their PIN or hand over cash.
Stephen Jones, 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.
“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.”