Contactless spending has increased by 560 per cent in a year

Limit for contactless payments increased to �30

Consumers will be able to pay for higher value purchases using contactless payment cards after the limit for a single transaction has been increased from £20 to £30 today.

The industry hopes the increased limit will broaden the appeal of the technology and attract more people to using it to pay for their everyday purchases.

However, it has been said not all retailers will be able to accept the higher-value payments immediately as software needs to be rolled out across the 200,000 bank owned payment terminals across the country.

The tap and go technology has been growing in popularity with data revealing last week a five-fold increase in spending over the past year.

"Contactless payments are fast, easy and secure and use the same robust encryption technology as chip and PIN,” said Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association.

"Consumers are increasingly choosing contactless as a way to pay and the new £30 limit will give shoppers and retailers even more opportunities."

Contactless payments were introduced in the UK in 2007 as a handy alternative to scrabbling around for cash to pay for low-value transactions.

Now there are 58 million contactless cards in the UK. According to the UK Cards Association, more contactless transactions took place during the first nine months of 2014 than the previous six years combined.

It said more than £2.5bn was spent using contactless cards in the first half of this year.

The latest increase to the limit is the third to have taken place. The last increase to the contactless limit was made in June 2012, when £5 was added, taking the limit to £20. Before that, it was raised from £10 to £15 in 2010.

Contactless cards work by containing a chip that holds a consumer's account information and an antenna that picks up power from a signal sent out by the card reader.

Some concerns have been raised about how susceptible contactless cards are to criminals using technology in an attempt to steal card details remotely.

A recent investigation by consumer group Which? used "easily and cheaply" acquired technology from a mainstream website to take enough information from cards to place orders for items including a £3,000 television set.

But the UK Cards Association has described instances of fraud on contactless cards as "extremely rare", with losses of less than a penny for every £100 spent on contactless - far lower than card fraud generally.

If a contactless card is used fraudulently, consumers are fully protected against any losses and will not be left out of pocket, the association has said.

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