Covid-19: Consumers quick to make use of new contactless payment limit

There has been a rapid take-up of the increased contactless payment limit from £30/€30 to £45/€50 in the UK and Ireland that was announced last month, figures released by Barclaycard have revealed.

The credit card brand said that since the new contactless limit has been made available in some stores from 1 April, it has processed over 7 million contactless payments above the previous limit of £30/€30, and up to the new limit of £45/€50. Barclaycard handles around half of all contactless transactions in the UK.

According to the data, since the new payment limit has been put in place, the average value of contactless transactions has grown from £9.28 to just under £14, while a total of £264 million has been spent on contactless payments above £30. According to Barclaycard, this means a total of 43% of in-store transactions between £30 and £45 are now contactless.

The measure therefore appears to be helping to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading in stores, with more shoppers able to pay for their purchases without handling cash or touching card terminals. In addition, it helps reduce queue times as contactless is a quicker method of payment than either Chip & PIN or cash.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “We want to play our part in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19, so we are delighted to have reached 7 million transactions so quickly. We would like to thank our clients both large and small for working with us to make the required changes, and for promoting the new limits to consumers. This rapid adoption would not have been possible without them. We believe that contactless is the safest, fastest and most responsible way to pay in store, and we encourage all consumers to take advantage of the new higher limit where possible.”

Currently, the roll-out of this new limit is being prioritised for essential retailers, such as grocers and supermarkets. It is set to be expanded to other sectors in due course.