The contactless limit for in-store spending is to increase from £30 to £45 from 1 April as retailers cut the need for physical contact in shops amid the coronavirus epidemic. But retailers warned that it may take some time for the new limit to come into force everywhere.
The British Retail Consortium’s head of payments policy, Andrew Cregan, said: “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.
“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.”
Mobile phone users can already make contactless payments above £30, if the retailer accepts, by holding their phone over the reader and entering their normal card pin on their phone.
There is no universal limit on the amount a customer can spend when using Apple Pay, but some retailers put their own ceiling in place.
The BRC said the increase to £45 would reduce the need for physical contact with pin entry devices at points of sale.
Other countries have also announced increases to minimise the handling of cash. In Ireland, the contactless limit will rise from €30 (£27.50) to €50, but as in the UK, the change will not be implemented in full until the start of April.
The coronavirus crisis has also resulted in a delay to the rollout of a trial anti-fraud measure. The banks were planning to introduce “confirmation of payee” on 1 April, but it will now take place on 30 June. Confirmation of payee will involve banks matching names as well as account numbers and sort codes.