Contactless spending limit to increase to £100 in October
Andrew Crook - NFFF President
August 31, 2021

The spending limit on each use of a contactless card is to rise from £45 to £100 from Friday, 15 October.

The maximum amount was increased from £30 to its current level at the start of the pandemic, and plans to raise it further were announced in the Budget.

Almost two-thirds of all debit card transactions are made via the tap-and-go technology. But academics have warned raising the limit could increase crime.

When contactless card payments were introduced in 2007, the transaction limit was set at £10. Cards were generally used in this way in place of small change when buying snacks, papers and occasional groceries. The limit was raised gradually to £20, then to £30 in 2015.

The pandemic accelerated a move away from cash, with shoppers often being encouraged to use contactless in many stores to reduce close contact between staff and customers. It meant the government and industry hurriedly increased the limit to £45 and announced plans to raise it again to £100.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Increasing the contactless limit will make it easier than ever to pay safely and securely. As people get back to the high street, millions of payments will made be simpler, providing a welcome boost for retailers and shoppers.” However, there are concerns the next increase will prove tempting for criminals to step up efforts to steal cards.

A report for University College London’s Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science said: “Raising the contactless card limit to £100 would likely make card theft more attractive, increasing a broad range of acquisitive crimes including snatch theft of wallets and purses, hold-up robberies, and home and vehicle break-ins to find cards that can be used fraudulently.”

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