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Contactless transaction limit raised to £20

Shoppers in the UK can now pay for purchases of up to £20 using contactless card technology.

UK consumers hold around 23 million credit and debit cards with the “wave and go” technology, which allows shoppers to pay for low value transactions by holding their card up to a reader, without the need to enter their PIN. It was developed by American Express, Mastercard and Visa, which means that UK customers will be able to use their contactless cards in any other country that has adopted the technology.

The contactless transaction limit in the UK was first raised from £10 to £15 in 2010. The latest increase to £20 is expected to broaden the appeal of contactless payment, increasing the number of situations where it can be used.

At present there are 55 national retailers who accept contactless payment, including McDonalds, Boots, Greggs, Little Chef, Paypoint, Spar and Wilkinsons. Starting on 6 June the Post Office will also start rolling out the technology across its network, significantly widening its reach.

Consumers concerned about fraud can be reassured that usage is monitored by the chip on the card, which limits the number of consecutive contactless transactions that are allowed before the cardholder is required to use their PIN. This is designed to deter and limit fraudulent use if the card is lost or stolen. There is also legal protection from losses if a fraudster successfully make a contactless transaction on a stolen card.

Melanie Johnson, chair of the UK Cards Association, said that low-value transactions have been gradually moving from cash to card and the new contactless cards provide a convenient and fast method for paying for low-cost goods and services, while offering more protection than traditional payment methods such as cash or cheque.


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