Transaction limits for 'tap and go' payments rose by £15 from April 1. Vicky Shaw asks UK Finance, the payments and banking industry trade association, to explain.
Why has the contactless limit increased?
The increase means you can now pay up to £45 using contactless. An increase was already being considered by the payments industry - but the changes have been introduced more quickly as part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak, to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless.
It follows similar increases in several other European countries. Contactless payments have become increasingly popular. Last year, £80.5 billion was spent using contactless payments, a 16% increase on the year before.
How will the limit change work in practice?
The software on card payment machines will be updated to accept the new £45 limit. Software is being rolled out from the start of April onwards, but with hundreds of thousands of terminals in the UK, the updating process will happen gradually. If a purchase costs more than £30 and the machine has not yet been updated to accept £45 transactions, then contactless card payments will not be an available option.
How do I know if a retailer has the new limit?
Customers should ask in store and follow the prompts on the card payment machine. If a machine has not yet been upgraded you will not be offered the option of a contactless payment for a purchase of more than £30.
Why is the new limit £45?
The new £45 limit is designed to balance security, convenience and consumer demand. While the increase has been introduced more quickly to help customers during the Covid-19 outbreak, the limit also has to be balanced with ensuring security too.
What have the previous contactless limits been?
So far, the limit has increased from £10 in 2007, to £15 in 2010, and £20 in 2012, and £30 in 2015.