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Contactless card payment limit rising to £45 in April

The £30 limit for individual payments on contactless cards will rise to £45 on April 1 2020, UK Finance has announced.

The spending limit is being raised following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past week.

Under current rules, contactless cards can only be used for payments up to £30; consumers need to use pin entry or contactless payment options available on smartphones for higher totals, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay (both of which can typically authorise more than double the current limit).

While the contactless card changes were already under consideration by the industry, the process has been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, with many retailers requiring the sole use of contactless payment in order to minimise the risk of spreading infection through the exchange and handling of cash.

From April 1 2020, consumers will begin to see an increasing number of retailers accepting contactless card payments up to the new £45 limit.

However, the new limits will take some time to be introduced across all retailers, including some of those facing additional pressure due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said: “The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.

“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.

“The industry continues to work closely with the government and regulators to support customers impacted by Covid-19 and ensure that they can pay in a way that suits them.”

Recent figures show almost 50 per cent of all debit card payments are now contactless, with a jump of 8.9 per cent last year compared to 2018.

In February this year, the Chancellor was urged to protect cash as more British citizens move away from physical money, making its nationwide distribution more expensive.

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