Contactless limit raised to £45 to aid social distancing


Contactless payment limits will rise from £30 to £45 from April 1 as the UK’s financial and retail sectors take measures to help limit contagion.

UK Finance, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Barclaycard and Mastercard all announced the measures this morning, which will see customers able to pay for goods up to £45 without entering their pin numbers.

While the measures will officially come into effect on April 1, the groups have warned that it may take more time for this to be implemented to every payment system across the UK.

“The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled out from next week,” The BRC’s head of payments policy Andrew Cregan 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.”

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This is aimed at reducing the need for physical contact between customers and shoppers are social distancing measures are significantly ramped up, as well as reducing the need to transfer physical cash.

Barclaycard, which handles around half of the UK’s debit and credit card transactions and powers over 150,000 terminals across is supporting the move, stating that it will prioritise deployment for “key retailers, including grocery & supermarket stores, bakeries, pharmacies and petrol service stations”.

Barclaycard’s chief executive Rob Cameron added: “It’s more important than ever for merchants and their customers to be mindful of their collective health and safety.

“We are proud to be taking a leadership position in the UK by commencing the deployment of a higher contactless threshold. By supporting the ability of customers to spend up to £45 via contactless, we are playing a part in helping UK consumers to pay safely and securely in these challenging times”.

Mastercard UK’s divisional president Mark Barnett added: “As we all collectively navigate the current unsettling and uncertain times, providing consumers and businesses with a choice in how they wish to pay and get paid, remains a constant for us.

“On this basis we fully support the increased contactless limit here in the UK and across Europe, cardholders and shopkeepers will soon be able to make and receive more of their purchases both quickly and securely, and without the need to enter a PIN.”

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