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FCA mulls increasing contactless limit to £100

The contactless limit was increased in April 2020 from £30 up to £45 to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering more than doubling the current contactless limit in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In an update posted by the FCA yesterday, the regulator revealed that it was beginning the consultation process to increase the contactless limit to £100.

The update read: “Since the limit for contactless card payments was raised to £45 last April at the start of the pandemic, people are increasingly making use of contactless payments. It’s important that payments regulation keeps pace with consumer and merchant expectations.”

“Recognising changing behaviour in how people pay, as part of a wider consultation, we will shortly be seeking views on amending our rules to allow for a possible increase in the contactless limit to £100.”

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the FCA increased the contactless limit from £30 up to £45 from 1 April 2020 after the World Health Organisation suggested that banknotes could harbour the Covid-19 virus for several days and urged consumers to use contactless to slow its transmission.

Commenting on the proposed increase, Pete Wickes, general manager of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Worldpay, said: "It’s really positive to see the FCA responding to consumer demand and reviewing the contactless limit, especially given the increasing popularity and use. It is clear that demand is there for another increase."

“It is vital that shops and businesses have sufficient time to implement the changes given the current extraordinary operating conditions. Some consumers will also need time to adjust."

According to new figures from Barclaycard, contactless has surged in popularity over the past year, highlighting the need for a higher limit.

Now, nearly 90 per cent of all transactions are made using the touch-free payment method and, following the limit increase, the average value of contactless payments jumped by nearly a third, from £9.60 in 2019 to £12.38 in 2020.

The FCA also announced other updates to mortgages, consumer credit and continued support for frontline staff.

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