UK boosts contactless limit to £30

UK boosts contactless limit to £30

As the contactless payments limit in Britain rises from £20 to £30, new figures from the UK Cards Association show that more than £2.5 billion was spent via tap and go in the first half of 2015.

From 1 September, payments terminals across the country will be updated to increase the upper limit, bringing it closer to the average card transaction value of £46.92.

The move means that the average supermarket spend of £25 now falls below the contactless limit, further squeezing the demand for cash as big chains like Sainsburys get on board. The average card spend in pubs, cinemas, dry cleaners, pet shops and gift shops also falls under the new mark.

Contactless spending has risen from £287 million per month in January to £567 million in June. In total, £2.5 billion was spent on contactless cards and devices in the first half of 2015, compared to £2.32 billion for the whole of 2014.

There are now nearly 70 million contactless cards in the country and just under 260,000 terminals.

Kevin Jenkins, MD, UK & Ireland, Visa Europe, says: "Today’s threshold increase to £30 gives consumers all the benefits of contactless across a broader range of their daily activities, and we expect to see this momentum continue to build as more people adopt mobile and wearable payment technology."

Mark Barnett, president, MasterCard UK & Ireland, adds: "We expect this upward trend to persist with consumers continuing to migrate to contactless card payments and increasingly to mobile payments, as we work with partners such as Apple to enable more convenient ways to pay."

Comments: (8)

Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global 01 September, 2015, 08:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Convenience is king. It used to be cash! Using Apple Pay at Wetherspoons on Saturday, no pocket full of change and I knew exactly what I spent. Definitely the way forward
Dave Sanderson
Dave Sanderson - YBS Group - Bradford/Leeds - UK 01 September, 2015, 09:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

My father in law apparently received a letter from his bank (one of the big five) informing him that even though the scheme limit has increased to £30 his limit would remain at £20 per transaction.

I haven't seen the letter so I can't comment for sure but I wasn't aware that this was a decision that the banks could make?

Matt Scott
Matt Scott - NewDay - London 01 September, 2015, 11:03Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Is this newsworthy?  The limit is already $100 (AUD) in Austrlia which is roughly £50.  Why not raise the limit to £50 and permit higher contactless transactions with online PIN verification - kill off offline PIN verification (a legacy of the past) and simplify the issuance environment...

Raymond Lee
Raymond Lee - PHOS - London 01 September, 2015, 12:15Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Whilst this is good news, and Matt, I have no doubt it will be £50 very soon, the reality is that it's still being rolled out to retailers by way of configuration updates etc. Certainly BP have still not yet rolled it out judging by my experience this morning. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 September, 2015, 12:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Matt, Raymond - fair points. Mobile payments will not take off until we have full contactless High Value payments using th ePIN above the Low Value payment threshold, as they do on most of th eEuropean continent. The increase to £30 will help, and the past year's performance may well be the tipping point - but the true contactless experience is being able to replicate the card journey on a smartphone. I'll live with PIN on PED for now, until biometrics catches up.....

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 September, 2015, 13:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes I'd like to see the statistics with TFL volumes removed...
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 September, 2015, 13:331 like 1 like

Australia has had a $100.00 limit to contactless cards without a PIN Number from the very beginning. Above $100.00, and you have to enter a PIN Number to authorise the transaction. When I saw the initial 20 Pound limit move to 30 Pounds I thought it was too low, even taking into consideration the exchange value of UK Pounds to Australian dollars. Australia by the way is doing an absolutely roaring trade with contactless cards. It is accepted everywhere and it is also accepted across the board.

We had our scare campaigns about its alleged ‘lack of security’ but this nonsense has thankfully been completely forgotten. I am looking forward to Apple Pay when it becomes available later on. Apple are having some issues getting it off the ground in Australia as our main banks have been doing their homework regarding contactless cards and mobile phone apps. This has placed them in a far stronger negotiating position than most American banks for example when it comes to the terms of agreement for Apple Pay.   

Matt Scott
Matt Scott - NewDay - London 01 September, 2015, 14:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Having had a recent work trip to Melbourne relatively recently I did see a high penetration rate for contactless - and as you correctly observe - Australian banks have been testing the water with Host Card Emulation based NFC Mobile Proximity payments. What is slightly unnerving about ApplePay/Tokenization and Scheme based Token Vaults is the potential increase in Scheme Fees that may be incurred and also the loss of visivility over who the customer is and what accounts are linked to their "card" (thinking from an ATM/SST point of view).

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