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Contactless card payment limit in UK to rise to £100 in October

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Shoppers in the UK will be able to spend up to £100 using contactless card payments from 15 October as the limit on spending is more than doubled.

The cap on “tap-and-go” spending on credit and debit cards was raised from £30 to £45 after the onset of the pandemic amid fears that the virus could be spread through surfaces.

Some retailers stopped cash payments altogether, while others lowered the value of transactions they would accept them for to encourage customers to use their cards.

Although that fear has receded, the switch to contactless has gathered pace and in March’s budget the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the limit would more than double later this year.

UK Finance, the body representing banks, said the rollout would begin on 15 October, with some retailers accepting the higher payments straight away.

It said terminals would need to be updated, and that it would take “some time” for the £100 limit to be available at all checkouts.

David Postings, the chief executive of UK Finance, said contactless payment had proved very popular with consumers and an increasing number of transactions were being made using the technology.

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“The increase in the limit to £100 will allow people to pay for higher value transactions like their weekly shop or filling up their car with fuel,” he added.

Sunak said: “Increasing the contactless limit will make it easier than ever to pay safely and securely – whether that’s at the local shops or your favourite pub and restaurant.

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“As people get back to the high street, millions of payments will made be simpler, providing a welcome boost for retailers and shoppers.”

However, some finance experts have warned that there are downsides to the increase.

Laura Suter, the head of personal finance at the investment firm AJ Bell, said that while the move brought more convenience for some there were two potential problems.

“First, it is a thief’s dream, as they can take far more of your money in each transaction if you card is lost or stolen,” she said.

“Second, there is a risk for those who are in debt getting further into debt. The easier a card transaction is the less the consumer is actively thinking about how much they are spending, meaning it’s easier to rack up larger bills on a credit card.”

Customers using Apple Pay or Google Pay can already make contactless payments larger than £45 as neither provider sets a limit.