The U.K. spending limit for contactless card payments is to increase from £30 to £45, meaning iPhone users will soon be able to pay for more expensive shopping bills using their smartphones in stores where limitless Apple Pay transactions aren't supported.
The increase in the upper limit on contactless payments is set to roll out nationally beginning from April 1, UK Finance today announced.
To put the change into context, many merchants set up their terminals to only accept contactless payments of up to £30, regardless of whether you’re swiping a bank card or using Apple Pay. While some banks don't set a limit on Apple Pay transactions, Apple notes that you might not be able to use Apple Pay for purchases over £30, depending on the retailer.
The decision to raise the standard debit card contactless limit to £45 is said to have been taken following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry, and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past week.
The changes were reportedly already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the global viral pandemic to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless.
Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said:
"The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.
“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout."
UK Finance notes that the new limits could take some time to be introduced across all retailers, but eventually they'll offer people another way to pay shopping bills without handling money or touching payment terminals, which should help in the fight against the current viral outbreak.
Of course, in the meantime U.K. consumers spending more than £45 can still use Chip & Pin, cash, and biometric-authenticated mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, where accepted.