Shoppers can now make payments of up to £100 with a single tap of their debit or credit card.
The contactless card payment limit has increased from £45 to £100, although many retailers’ terminals will need to be updated so the option will not be available everywhere immediately.
Some banks, however, will allow people to set their own contactless card limits at less than £100, or turn off contactless altogether, amid concerns about fraud.
What are the options at your bank?
– Lloyds Banking Group
Customers of Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland will be able to set their own contactless limits, of between £30 up to £95, in increments of £5. They can also toggle contactless functionality on and off. If people turn contactless off, they will need to key in their Pin when paying by card.
Customers can choose to turn off the contactless function of their card using NatWest’s mobile app but cannot currently set their own limit.
– HSBC UK
The bank does not currently offer the ability to set individual contactless limits, but it said customers can request a non-contactless card if that is their preference.
While customers do not currently have the option to set their own contactless limits, they can set spending limits across all of their transactions, which includes contactless transactions. These controls can be updated in real time via their app.
The bank is working on an option for customers to be able to request lower contactless limits, but this will not be immediately available.
– Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide members will have the ability to turn off the contactless function and can also request a non-contactless card if they prefer. The building society is also planning to launch the ability for members to set a lower contactless limit than £100 in the future.
– Virgin Money
Customers cannot set their own limit or toggle contactless on and off.
– Metro Bank
Metro Bank does not currently have plans to allow customers to set individual limits on their contactless cards. It added that it has a range of safeguards in place across its channels to protect customers against fraud.
– Starling Bank
Customers will be able to select a limit of their choice between £0 and £100, in £10 increments using its app. They can turn contactless off entirely if they want to.
When can you start using the higher limit contactless payments? David Postings, chief executive of 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".
While the change came into effect on Friday, many retailers’ terminals will still need to be updated.
It may take “days, weeks, or even months” for some retailers to make the necessary changes, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), so customers will need to check with individual stores.
How often is the limit raised?
The increase from Friday marks the fifth time that the limit has been raised, after it was initially set at £10 in 2007.
The limit was increased to £45 in April 2020, early on in the coronavirus pandemic. Some shops restricted people’s ability to pay with cash during the crisis, although Bank of England research suggests the risk of catching Covid-19 from banknotes is low.
Between January and July, 60% of all debit and credit card transactions across the UK were contactless, according to trade association UK Finance.
This accounted for 6.6 billion payments, with a value of £81.4 billion.
In 2020, 27% of all payments, including cash, were made using contactless cards - this is in comparison to just 7% of transactions four years earlier.
Should you be worried about any potential risks?
The decision to raise the contactless limit from £45 to £100 was made by the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a public consultation and discussions with the retail and banking sectors.
However, the move has raised some concerns about the potential for fraud.
But an FCA spokesman allayed fears by saying there was no data to suggest this.
“Available fraud rate data suggests there to be no significant increase in contactless payment-related fraud since industry increased the limit to £45 in April 2020”, he said.
What’s more, we have seen no material increase in fraudulent transactions in other countries where the contactless limit increased to the equivalent of £100 or above”, he added.
UK Finance has said people should always contact their bank immediately if their card is lost or stolen or they notice any strange transactions on their account.
Under fraud protection rules, people can claim a refund if someone else makes an unauthorised payment from their account; for example, after their card has been stolen.
Cards also have an in-built security check so that, 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.