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Contactless limit to increase to £100 from October

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Written by: Emma Lunn
27/08/2021
The national roll-out of the new £100 spending limit for contactless card payments will begin from 15 October 2021.

The decision to raise the contactless limit from £45 to £100 was made by HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a public consultation and discussions with both the retail and banking sectors. It follows on from the increase in the limit from £30 to £45 in April 2020.

UK Finance said that from 15 October 2021, consumers will start to see retailers accepting contactless payments up to the new £100 limit. But given the number of terminals which will need to be updated to accept the new limit, it will take some time to be introduced across all retailers.

To check if a retailer has updated to the new limit, customers should either ask in store or follow the prompts on the card payment machine when paying.

David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “Contactless payment has proved very popular with consumers and an increasing number of transactions are being made using contactless technology. The increase in the limit to £100 will allow people to pay for higher value transactions like their weekly shop or filling up their car with fuel. The payments industry has worked hard to put in place the infrastructure to enable retailers to update their payments systems so they can start to offer their customers this new higher limit.”

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, said: “Around half of all credit card transactions and two-thirds of all debit card transactions are contactless and this number will leap from October as people can use contactless for bigger items, like the weekly shop or filling up the car with petrol.

“However, while the move brings more convenience for some it also carries two big warnings. First, it is a thief’s dream, as they can take far more of your money in each transaction if you card is lost or stolen. By spending £100 at a pop without having to put in a PIN, it would be very easy for thieves to blitz through money quickly before you even spotted the card had been nicked.

“Second, there is a risk for those who are in debt getting further into debt. The easier a card transaction is the less the consumer is actively thinking about how much they are spending, meaning it’s easier to rack up larger bills on a credit card.”

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