Limit on contactless payment increased to £30

As it was previously announced, 1 September marked the increase of the limit on contactless payments across the UK. As of today, consumers using contactless payment systems will now be able to purchase goods worth £30, instead of the previous £20.

However, not all retailers will offer the new limit from day one because, as Express wrote in a report, a number of software updates will need to be made to payment terminals first.

Even though there still are many security concerns regarding contactless payments, the British don’t seem to mind all that much. Back in June it was unveiled that UK customers are leading the European contactless payment charge, with British shoppers spending €330m (£234m) in March across 52.6m transactions using contactless payments.

“The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable near field communications technology,” Visa Europe’s Sandra Alzetta was quoted as saying.

Contactless payment has worked wonders in the transport industry. In March, Transport for London (TfL) said it was the fastest growing contactless Visa merchant in Europe, six months after it was launched on buses, tubes and trains.

According to trade body the UK Cards Association, more contactless transactions took place during the first nine months of 2014 than the previous six years combined.

The technology enables customers to pay for goods with a single swipe of their card on a reader, without the need to sign or enter a personal identification number, or PIN.

Industry reaction

Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director of Visa UK and Ireland:

“We believe that the new threshold increase to £30 could be the most significant to date, and has the potential to essentially redefine contactless usage. With contactless now accounting for one in 11 in-store Visa transactions, and Britons increasingly embracing the technology, our data shows that the rise could impact as many as 3 million Visa transactions per day in the UK, for a total of over £70 million.

"Supermarkets, clothing stores, department stores and pharmacy chains particularly stand to benefit from the increase, as 12 - 20 per cent of Visa transactions at these retailer types fall into the £20 – 30 category. This is an opportunity to increase convenience, improve service and deliver an enhanced shopping experience for a significant number of their customers."

Ian Hermon, Product Marketing Manager Payments Security, Thales e-Security

"The rise in contactless spend limit will come as good news for consumers, extending the size of shopping basket for which they can enjoy the seamless ‘tap and go’ experience. Contactless security has been on the receiving end of some negative – and misleading – headlines of late. It’s important to note that the reported weakness is nothing to do with the card.

"The same information would be exposed if you left your payment card face up on a table – your primary account number and expiry date. In a Card Not Present scenario, such as online, it is the responsibility of the retailer to cross reference this information with the cardholder name, address or security code.

"Contactless cards use the same technology as Chip and PIN – secure generation and loading of cryptographic keys, with Hardware Security Modules to provide the root of trust. It is testament to the strength of the underlying security infrastructure that the issuing banks are confident to accept the higher risk associated with higher value transactions, without the need for a PIN.

"This increase in contactless volume can easily be supported by the established four-party network (cardholder, merchant, issuer, acquirer), by simply adding more capacity, without having to re-design the architecture."