Contactless card payment limit raised to £100 - how to set a spending cap

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 5:18 pm
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 7:21 am
Is Apple Pay safe? Express Transit Apple Pay mode security flaw leaves Visa card users at risk, cyber security experts have claimed (image: Shutterstock)

The amount of money you can spend in a contactless transaction is set to more than double from today (15 October).

Whereas before, UK shoppers were confined to a maximum spend of £45 without a pin, they will now have a limit of £100.

While the contactless limit change has been approved by regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a public consultation, it has led to concerns about fraud.

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For example, in October, cyber security experts said they had discovered a flaw in Apple Pay’s contactless system when it interacted with Visa cards.

So, if you’re a concerned consumer and don’t want your card or device to spend £100 in a ‘tap and go’ transaction, how do you set a contactless cap?

Not all banks and providers offer a contactless cap

Not all banks or card providers allow for a contactless cap to be set.

Here’s the full list of firms which do not let customers set their own limit:

  • American Express
  • Barclays
  • Barclaycard
  • Capital One
  • HSBC
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • Natwest
  • RBS
  • Santander
  • TSB
Mobile payment systems technically do not have contactless limits (image: Shutterstock)

According to Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert site, Monzo, Nationwide and Santander are all considering adding contactless cap functionality to their products.

Meanwhile, Barclays has the option of setting spend limits across all transactions via its app.

As well as not offering a personal cap, American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, HSBC and MBNA also do not allow customers to switch off contactless.

However, MBNA is understood to be introducing contactless caps of between £30 and £95 for credit cards later in 2021.

The other banks and providers on the list allow for contactless to be turned off.

Most customers can do this in their banking app, online or over the phone.

Those that do might be sent a new non-contactless card.

The banks and providers that do offer a contactless cap

Of those that do offer the option of a cap, only digital bank Starling offers one on both debit and credit accounts.

Via its app, users can choose to impose a limit of between £10 and £90 or even stop contactless functionality entirely if they wish.

Three banks - Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyd’s Bank - are set to offer contactless limits of between £30 and £95 on their debit cards.

Their customers also have the option to switch contactless off completely, although you will have to be registered for online banking to make the change.

The contactless payment limit in the UK will now be £100 (image: Shutterstock)

What about mobile payments?

The likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay do not have an upper contactless limit when payment has been authenticated via biometric tech, for example a fingerprint scan.

But these seemingly limitless transactions can in fact be limited by retailers and/or card providers.

What rules are in place to stop criminals?

The threshold for multiple contactless transactions is set to continue.

But whereas before, the limit was £130, it is now rising to £300.

Once card users hit this limit, or if they make more than five contactless payments in a row using the same card, they will be required to pay using their chip and pin.

A chip and pin will also be required if you spend £300 but did not verify any of the payments.

Consumer site Which? said contactless users should not be unduly concerned about fraud.

While the number of contactless payments made in the UK in 2020 increased by 12% to 9.6bn payments, Which? found contactless fraud rates were low - equivalent to less than 2p in every £100 spent in early 2020.

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com