Covid-19: Contactless limit raised from £30 to £45

The contactless limit for in-store payments has been lifted from £30 to £45 in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus via the exchange of cash or entering a PIN at a card terminal device.

While the new limit will be introduced at some stores from 1 April, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) warns it could take some time to be applied more widely.

BRC 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 smart phone.”

Contactless payments are already widespread in the UK. Data from last year reported that this payment method accounted for half of debit card transactions in July 2019.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments said: “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”.

But with store closures up and down the high street, consumers will be spending less of their hard earned cash on the retail industry this year. According to GlobalData, the retail industry can expect £12.6 billion to be wiped from UK sales this year – this is the same amount Aldi recorded in sales for the whole of 2019.