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U.K.’s Contactless Payment Limit Raised To £45 To Slow Virus

Contactless payments caps are increased as retailers enforce less cash usage to fight COVID-19.

On April 1st, 2020, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced that the “contactless limit” amount would be increased to £45 or ($53). Originally £30 ($35), this change will enable customers to tap their card on a payment device for all expenditures up to £45. All without having to type in their pin number or touch the device itself. The BRC added that by raising the contactless payment limit, they hoped to “reduce the need for physical contact.”

With the new normal of “social distancing”, consumers are now forced to go out only for essential reasons, like shopping only for what they need and greatly limit their contact with other people.  Retailers have had to accommodate their customers in this new environment and needed to implement ways to limit contact with surfaces and cash handling.

Although it was effective immediately on April 1st, the BRC did advise that this new move will take some time to implement on a national level. As retailers cope with overcrowding in their stores, they don’t foresee making this change until after April 1st. 

According to Finextra, a financial website, other countries have taken similar measures, including Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Poland, and Turkey. With the coronavirus outbreak killing more than 16,500 people and infecting 380,000 as reported by Johns Hopkins University, these and many more countries are seeking ways to reduce the handling of cash.

Andrew Cregan, head of payments policy for the BRC, said in a statement:

“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.”