From Friday 15 October you will be able to use your contactless debit or credit card to pay amounts up to £100. The current limit of £45 was raised from £30 in April 2020 in order to cut back on entering our PIN and touching buttons during the pandemic. It was equivalent to €50, the highest amount allowed by the EU when we were still subject to its rules. Now we are out, the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority have decided to more than double the limit to £100.
Contactless payments already account for half of all credit-card transactions and two thirds of those using a debit card, and the increase will mean the vast majority of shopping transactions can be contactless. You will still be asked to enter a PIN occasionally for security reasons, and not all banks will offer the new limit at once, with some retailers needing to upgrade their terminals to implement it. But over the next few weeks it should become pretty universal.
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Lloyds says it will apply the £100 limit for all its customers on day one, but offers the option of scaling the limit down to as little as £30, and toggling the contactless facility on and off. If it is off, then of course a PIN will be required. That will be good news for some of its customers who worry about the security of contactless payments.
When contactless began, some customers were concerned that if their card was lost or stolen, other people could spend their money. To counter that, the banks agreed to bear the cost of any unauthorised payments – and that promise continues with the higher limit.
If you inform your bank as soon as you realise your card is missing, then every payment that was not yours should be reimbursed – even any that occurred before you let the bank know. If that doesn’t happen, complain and threaten to take the issue to the Financial Ombudsman. Keep a separate note of the bank’s phone number to report a lost card in case you need it.
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Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4. QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com Paul cannot answer you personally, but will reflect them in this column.