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UK contactless payment limit increased to £30

Richard Easton
1 Sep 2015
Contactless payment
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You can now nonchalantly spend even more of your money in one transaction using contactless

Contactless payment is rather wonderful. You can pay for your coffee, groceries or even transport just by touching your bank card on a payment terminal. Just like that, your payment is taken and you're moving on with your day. However, up until this morning you could only spend a maximum of £20 per transaction. Importantly, this wouldn't cover the average UK grocery spend of £25, which was rather inconvenient. 

As such, as of this morning, it's now possible to pay for transactions up to £30 using contactless. According to Ars Technica, about 75 per cent of all debit or credit card transactions are below the £30 threshold, so the move is certainly a positive one. There's a minor caveat, however. The increased limit isn't handled by the payment processors, so it will be up to to retailers to update the software on their payment terminals in order to begin accepting up to £30. 

The increase in threshold was first announced back in February, so retailers should have had ample time to prepare for the rollout. The Guardian estimates that most retailers will be '£30-ready' by October 31st, so you'll be able to buy plenty of sweets in preparation for Halloween trick or treaters. Still, it will be up to them to communicate to customers the maximum amount they can accept. Contactless payments first started appearing in the UK in 2007 and the amount supported has steadily been creeping up from £10 when it first launched. Sainsbury's is set to finally start supporting contactless payments by the end of the year, so perfect timing to take advantage of the increased limit.

For those concerned with the security aspect of contactless payments, the UK Cards Association reports that only 1p in every £100 spent is fraudulent, which isn't a bad return from the 69m contactless payment cards that have been distributed. In June alone 81.2m contactless transactions were processed and the number is going to keep rising especially with so many other payment options available including Apple Pay, Barclays bPay and Samsung Pay.

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