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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked the UK Treasury to consider increasing the maximum contactless payment to £100.
Changing Payment Behaviour
The move away from handling cash due to its potential infection-passing risk, and the lockdowns making consumers less likely to visit ATMs or town centres have led to a move away from cash towards contactless.
For example, the total value of contactless payments in 2020 increased by 7 per cent compared with 2019 and there was a 29 per cent increase in the use of contactless in UK grocery stores. Barclaycard figures show that contactless payments accounted for 88.6 per cent of all card payments in 2020.
£45 In April 2020
The maximum limit for contactless had already been increased from £30 to £45 in April last year in a bid to take account of the changing situation for shops and merchants. UK Finance data shows that although the proportion of contactless payments fell, probably due to measures taken to close parts of the hospitality industry (pubs and restaurants), and public transport measures, there was an increase in the total value of contactless payments in the UK in October.
Contactless Fraud Increase Worry
Raising the maximum payment to £100 on contactless, where identity verification is not required, has led to some expressing concern about a possible resulting increase in fraud. Figures (UK Finance) for 2020 show that fraud accounted for 2.5p in every £100 spent.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The FCA appears to be responding to the changing needs of consumers and merchants as the pandemic has led to a greater reliance on contactless. Although the FCA set the boundaries for payments it is down to the card issuers to decide upon the actual limits. Although a £100 limit sounds convenient from a consumer’s point of view, shops are concerned that the trade-off is the risk of higher-value theft and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has expressed concern about the risk of even greater losses from incomplete contactless payments at self-checkouts costing retailers more than the millions it’s costing them already in lost revenue. The BRC has also suggested that a higher priority issue to address than the maximum payment limit is high card fees. With the pandemic dragging on and people into their second month of the latest lockdown, it does look like there will be an increase to the new £100 maximum contactless limit.