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FCA considering raising UK contactless payment limit to £100

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
Close up shot of a senior man making a contactless payment at a supermarket till.
Grocery stores saw a significant growth in contactless users in 2020, with payments up 29.4% year-on-year, according to Barclaycard. Photo: Getty

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering whether to lift the UK contactless payment limit to £100 ($137).

Since the limit for contactless card payments was raised to £45 last April at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, people are increasingly making use of contactless payments, according to the FCA.

“Recognising changing behaviour in how people pay, as part of a wider consultation, we will shortly be seeking views on amending our rules to allow for a possible increase in the contactless limit to £100,” the FCA said.

The limit was increased from £30 to £45 in April to allow more transactions to be made without handling cash and reduce the need for physical contact with devices where people need to input their Pin.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously advised people to use contactless technology instead of cash as banknotes may contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

Nine in 10 eligible card transactions were made using contactless technology in 2020, while the average value of contactless transactions jumped by nearly a third (29%), according to data from Barclaycard.

Individually, the average contactless user made 141 contactless payments in 2020, worth a total of £1,640.

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Grocery stores, which remained open as “essential retailers,” saw a significant growth in contactless users, with payments up 29.4% year-on-year, according to Barclaycard.

The proportion of debit card payments made using contactless reached its highest level in September last year, according to trade association UK Finance, with contactless accounting for 64% of all debit card transactions and 46% of credit card transactions in the UK.

Although there are fears a rise in the contactless payment limit to £100 could lead to an increase in fraud, the FCA said contactless fraud on payment cards and devices represents just 3.3% of overall card fraud losses, with contactless fraud equating to just 2.5p in every £100 spent.

Last year, the European Commission also increased to contactless limit in the EU tor €50 (£42) to reduce cash transactions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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