Contactless £100 limit goes live

The national roll-out of the new £100 spending limit for contactless card payments begins today.

The UK chancellor announced the new limit from £45 this March, in response to wider contactless use among consumers and the pandemic, which saw less use of cash in shops and restaurants, for instance.

From January to July of this year, 60 per cent of all debit and credit card transactions in the UK were made using contactless. This accounted for 6.6 billion payments, and a value of £81.4 billion.

Given the number of terminals that need to be updated, the £100 limit may not be available across all retailers immediately.

David Postings, chief executive of industry organisation UK Finance, said: “The new £100 limit offers customers greater choice about how they pay for things like their weekly shop or a tank of fuel.

“Contactless payments have become increasingly popular and the payments industry has worked hard to ensure retailers are able to offer customers the new higher limit.”

After a certain amount of contactless spending is undertaken or a certain number of transactions have been made, customers will need to enter their PIN to verify that they are the genuine cardholder.

The threshold for multiple contactless transactions before a customer is required to enter their PIN will rise from a standard £130 to £300. Banks will set their own limit for the value of transactions made before a PIN is required, these will not be published for security reasons.

Individual banks may enable customers to adjust their contactless use settings.

Steve Ritter, CTO at digital identity verification firm Mitek, said of the changes: “With shopping ramping up again, criminals will already be plotting their attacks. Now consumers will be able to spend up to £300 on a stolen contactless card without facing a security check.

“Those looking to hit the high streets will be at a greater risk of significant financial loss from theft. While apps like Apple Pay already offer unlimited contactless payments without customers expressing concerns, the risk is different for cards. Apps require a pin, face or fingerprint scan – a layer of security contactless cards simply don’t have.”

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