Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram ACS Podcasts Contact details Email us

Contactless Payments

From Friday 15th October 2021, the £45 contactless limit is increasing to £100.

Contactless is a way for customers to pay for purchases using a card or mobile without having to enter their PIN. The maximum value for this kind of purchase is known as the contactless limit. If the value is above the limit, the payment will default to a chip & PIN payment for card, or, if available, payment via mobile phone.

The higher £100 limit intends to securely improve convenience for both customers and retailers.

Banking body UK Finance suggests the greater use of contactless payments creates faster transactions and increased average transaction values. Additional guidance from UK Finance on contactless payments is available here: https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/system/files/Guide-for-retailers-8-October-2021.pdf

Key points:

  • The increase will roll-out from 15th October 2021, however, with hundreds of thousands of payment terminals to update, it will not be available to every retail store on day one.
  • If a purchase costs more than £45 and POS equipment has not yet been updated to accept £100 transactions, then contactless card payments will not be an available option.
  • Retailers should be contacted by their card payment acquirer and terminal provider to process updates to accept higher value contactless payments and share POS signage. 
  • For contactless cards, the customer will occasionally be asked by the terminal to insert their contactless card and enter their PIN or sign. This is normal process and a security check – no customer can cumulatively spend more than £300 via contactless or make five payments without further authentication. 

FAQs:

What if I do not yet accept card payments?

If you don’t currently accept card payments, you will need to speak to a card acquirer, a business which helps retailers to process card transactions.

What if I accept card but not contactless payments?

You should first establish whether your payment terminal can accept contactless payments – look for the contactless symbol on the terminal screen and if unsure contact your terminal provider. If required, your terminal provider will offer solutions to accept contactless payments, likely to involve either replacing your existing terminal or obtaining an add-on contactless reader to support your existing payment terminal.

How can I access POS signage to communicate the change to customers?

For retailers offering Visa payments:

For retailers offering Mastercard payments:

Is there a greater risk of fraud?

No customer will be able to cumulatively spend more than £300 via contactless without authenticating they own the card by inputting a PIN, signing or using mobile wallet systems. Banks can set their own lower limits for customers, but these are not published for security reasons.

Contactless devices come with the same security and guarantee protection as other card payments. Fraud risks for retailers are reduced by the existence of an audit trail via terminal transaction records and very limited chargeback rights.

Do retailers have the ability to decide their own limits?

Yes, but card schemes advise that such an approach would create confusion and recommend adopting the £100 limit.

If a retailer does not adopt the new £100 limit, will there be any in-store signage to convey the limit to customers?

If a retailer does not update their limit, existing signage conveying the £45 limit will be used.

Are any banks planning to set controls for their customers?

Banks can limit the use of contactless payments by their customers. Where this applies, it will be customer-driven and all banks are enabling the £100 limit as standard. 

What about transactions above £100?

A higher value contactless payment is any transaction that exceeds the contactless limit of £100. Higher value contactless payments must include customer verification, for example via the use of a passcode, or a form of biometric identifier such as a fingerprint or Face ID

Will I be able to accept new contactless payment devices, such as mobile phones or wearable devices?

Yes, if they have been activated by the customer.

For more information on contactless payments, please contact steve.dowling@acs.org.uk