UK Contactless Spending Limit to Increase From £30 to £45 Beginning Next Month

Tuesday March 24, 2020 4:13 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

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.

Top Rated Comments

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1 week ago

I'm not sure I understand the difference here. Making a contactless payment with your iPhone is through Apple Pay. What other ways are there? Are we talking about the terminal specifically supporting Apple Pay? It's been my understanding that all NFC-enabled terminals automatically do.

No, old terminals don't "support" Apple Pay. Your phone detects that the terminal doesn't support Apple Pay, and then it pretends to be a contactless debit card with a special number. The terminal never knows that there was a phone anywhere nearby. It thinks there's just a contactless debit card. That's why you have a limit of £30 currently which has now been raised. Not for Apple Pay, but for contactless debit cards.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago


Wow... not even the cost of a dinner. Apple Pay is seriously crippled in the UK.

This is just the contactless limit (same as tapping a card) many retailers in the U.K. now seem to officially support Apple Pay so its unlimited.

I’m in the U.K.and I’d say 99% of my transactions are Apple Pay - the only place which don’t accept it and is cash only is when I get my hair cut!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago


These limits really need to change. In Canada we’ve had contactless for what feels like forever. But still mostly see the generic $100 limit.

I can appreciate that limit when tapping a card, but with Apple Pay (or other phone based payments), there really shouldn’t be a limit given security requirements around it.

Though in fairness most of the time it’s driven by the bank and the merchant.

In the UK there is generally no limit on Apple Pay and Google pay transactions.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago
I hope people realise that has nothing to do with Apple whatsoever. Contactless debit cards will be increased to £45. So people who might or might not be infected with Covid-19 can pay £30.01 to £45.00 without handing money over and passing viruses to staff or vice versa. Even if they have never heard of Apple or Apple Pay.

Guys, don't be so self-centered. Think a bit.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago
If you’re going to raise it, why not raise it more? Changing it a measly £15 seems odd. I imagine going up to £100 would cover 98% of transactions.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago


It should not have been raised at all, even £45 is too much given that anyone that finds/steals your card can buy unlimited number of goods without needing a signature or PIN.

A few months ago you could do a lot more contactless transitions without being asked to enter your pin. The number you can do now is a lot less.
So in reality you can’t lose as much money as you could have a few months ago by someone taking your card and just swiping it across a card reader.
Not only that but in recent months banks have been given stricter rules on what they have to protect due to fraud.

So right now even with the new £45 cap, you are likely to lose a lot less due to fraud and to recover more of your money than you were a few months ago with the rules back then and a £30 cap.
In addition to this, and most importantly. It has become obvious how dirty and now potentially dangerous it is to handle cash. We really need to encourage people to use card payments as much as possible, and to do that we need to make it easier for people to use card payments.
This £45 spend cap is a very welcome addition.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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