Could Cardiff become one of the UK's first cashless cities?

Cardiff is among the top UK cities to see a rise in cashless spending, according to data - with UK shoppers now able make contactless payments of up to £100 from today.

Contactless spending was up 10% in the Welsh capital last year, with 67% of payments made this way between March and September 2020, according to finance company Paymentsense.

Paying for goods and services with just a tap of your card has become even more popular during the coronavirus pandemic, with many people reluctant to handle cash for hygiene reasons.

In April 2020, the contactless card payment limit was increased from £30 to £45. But from today, the limit has increased again from £45 to £100.

The increase will give a "huge boost" to the struggling retail sector, the UK government says, helping to support jobs and businesses.

However, many retailers’ terminals will need to be updated, so the option will not be immediately available everywhere.

Some banks will allow people to set their own contactless card limits at less than £100, or turn off contactless altogether, amid concerns about fraud.

Many people now pay for goods and services at the touch of a card. Credit: PA Images

Today, stallholders at Cardiff market told ITV News they had mixed views on the cash versus card debate.

Gaynor Tagouri runs Welsh cake stall Bakestones. Before Covid, they only took cash - but Gaynor says those days are gone.

"We probably get about a third of our customers paying contactless," she said.

But Gaynor says she can't foresee a day where they stop accepting cash.

"We do get quite a few people who live on the streets and they will often spend just over a pound and have three warm Welsh cakes. I think it's people's choice," she said.

Carly Griffin, from Sage Deli, said customers are now paying in a multitude of ways - not just contactless card.

"Paying on phones, watches... I even have a few people who pay with their rings," she said.

"Very much different forms of contactless now. It's complete autopilot to grab the card machine."

Sara Smith, from spice merchant Clancy's, said: "A lot of the older people still like to stick to their cash and they're not too keen on embracing all this new technology."

Clifford Jones, from C.L.J. Electrics, said: "Most of our stuff is only a pound or so - it hasn't been worth it. It needs to be big money to have a card machine."

But Mr Jones said changing to card payments is inevitable.

"More people use their cards now than cash - we'll have to do it," he said.

Some banks offer customers the option to reduce the contactless limit or switch it off. Credit: PA Images

There have also been concerns raised about security, with some questioning what would happen if a card with a £100 contactless payment limit was stolen.

Gareth Shaw from consumer champion Which? said: "Unless the bank can prove that you've been grossly negligent with your card, you should get your money back. Yes, there's an increased risk a higher limit, but people should be able to use their contactless cards with confidence."

Those who do not wish their contactless limit to increase do have a choice.

"They should absolutely speak to their bank," he added.

"Lots of banks now will allow you to switch your contactless technology on and off. A few banks have come out and said that you can vary your contactless limit yourself."