The UK Contactless limits raised to £45 as the UK and other European countries seek to allow more purchases to be made without the need to physically touch payment terminals and help maintain isolation from Covid-19.

The website UK Finance says there were already plans in hand to increase the limit from £30 to £45, but these have now been brought forward and will apply from April 1st 2020.

The changes were already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless at this time.

The decision to raise the limit was 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.

From April 1, 2020, consumers will begin to see an increasing number of retailers accepting contactless card payments up to the new £45 limit. Given the pace at which this change is being rolled out, the new limits will take some time to be introduced across all retailers, including some of those facing additional pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

If a merchant specifically supports Apple Pay, then much higher limits may already apply. The exact limits depends on the merchant and the card, but are typically many hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands. These higher limits are possible because Apple Pay is considered to be an authenticated transaction, exactly like a chip-and-PIN one.

Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said:

The industry continues to work closely with the government and regulators to support customers impacted by Covid-19 and ensure that they can pay in a way that suits them.