Contactless card limit increased to £ 100, but many stores don’t allow it
The Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) raised the contactless limit from £ 45 to £ 100 on October 15, but Money Mail quickly discovered that retailers were reluctant to adopt it.
The limit defines the amount that can be spent on a contactless bank card – debit or credit – without having to verify your identity by entering a PIN code.
In April last year, it was increased from £ 30 to £ 45 as an anti-Covid measure to reduce contact between buyers and payment terminals.
Denied: When journalist Amelia Murray (pictured) went to test her new purchasing power on Oxford Street in London, she was greeted with bewilderment and suspicion
Now a card can be used to make five contactless payments in a row before the customer is asked to enter their PIN, up to £ 300.
But retailers rebelled against the rollout, fearing fraud and that buyers could walk away with their wares without realizing the transaction had not been processed.
The Post said it had no intention of allowing contactless transactions of £ 100. Some national retail chains are also refusing to update their systems at this time due to lack of customer demand, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The trade body says there are also concerns about “contactless landings” that could cost stores millions.
This happens if a contactless payment is blocked and a Pin is requested, but the customer does not realize it and leaves the store without paying. This is of particular concern for stores with self-service checkouts.
At the £ 45 limit, this problem costs retailers around £ 33million per year. There are fears that the losses could now increase significantly.
Other retailers are phasing in the £ 100 limit as they update their systems. It could take months.
When I tried to spend a triple-digit sum with a single touch of my debit card on Oxford Street in London, Europe’s most popular shopping district, I encountered strange looks or promises that the systems would be updated on Monday.
Puzzled: When Amelia asked about the new spending limit in Boots, staff had no idea and said the only way to find out was to test it on the self-service machine.
At John Lewis I was told downstairs that the limit had increased to £ 100, but at the second floor checkout I had to enter my PIN to approve a payment of £ 95.10 for a bathrobe, a towel and cushion.
Many of the staff I spoke to had not yet heard of the change. H. Samuel’s sales assistant told me that I can only use contactless to pay up to £ 45, and the manager of the Apple Store on Regent Street mistakenly told me that the limit depends from my bank.
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When I asked Boots, the staff had no idea. They said the only way to find out if the limit had increased was to test it on the self-service machine.
At Clarks and House of Fraser I was told the systems would be ready on Monday. A Sainsbury’s staff member said she had heard rumors about the changes but nothing had been updated yet.
The Tesco cashier looked at me like I was making it up when I told her I should be able to pay contactless for around £ 60 of hair straighteners and the payment was rejected. She said: “We would have been told if that was happening.”
TK Maxx assistants told me that some contactless payments over £ 45 had been made, but when I pressed my card against the machine for my £ 99.98 purchase of a shirt and a jacket, he asked me for my PIN code.
When I tried again a few days later, the stores seemed unprepared. In Boots, I was told it didn’t work that morning. And the limit had still not been raised at Marks & Spencer and TK Maxx.
I started to wonder if the staff suspected that I was trying to make purchases with a stolen bank card. This is a real concern for many.
The Financial Conduct Authority raised the contactless limit from £ 45 to £ 100 on Friday, but Money Mail quickly discovered that retailers were reluctant to adopt it.
The risk with contactless is that someone can steal your card and do something crazy without needing verification.
If someone steals your card and makes contactless payments, the money will be refunded, as long as you are not grossly negligent. If you find that your card is missing, report it immediately to your bank.
The FCA says contactless card fraud has not increased after rising to £ 45 last year, and has not increased in countries where the limit is around £ 100.
A spokesperson said: “Businesses need to make sure they are working to reduce the risk of unauthorized transactions and fraud and need tools to monitor fraudulent transactions. As the limit increases, we will continue to monitor the data closely.
There are also concerns that the £ 100 limit will encourage people to spend more than they should.
Myron Jobson, Platform Interactive Investor, says: “Contactless payments are easy and frictionless. The concern is that the new bumper limit could encourage reckless spending, causing some customers to go beyond their means.
“This could lead to debt problems at a time when many are feeling financial hardship, due to the pandemic and the rising cost of living.”
You can also ask your bank to limit your purchasing power.
Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers can set their own contactless limit between £ 30 and £ 95 (in £ 5 increments) online or through their mobile phone app. They can also activate and deactivate the contactless function as they wish. You can also change your limits in branch or by phone.
Nationwide customers can deactivate the contactless function of their card online, at a branch or via a mobile application. Alternatively, they can apply for a contactless card. NatWest customers can turn off the contactless feature using its app, but cannot set new limits. HSBC says you can apply for a contactless card.
Nationwide applies the same rules to credit cards, while HSBC customers can call the number on the back of their card and request that the contactless feature be turned off.
But Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest will only allow changes to debit cards.
Tesco says it started introducing the new limit last Friday and Sainsbury’s says it should be available in its 600 stores over the next few weeks. Marks & Spencer says it should be in place today, and Waitrose started on Monday.
Young’s 210 pubs will accept the £ 100 limit and B&Q says it will be in all stores from October 28. Boots systems will not be updated until January.
Payment apps on smartphones and smartwatches have no spending limits, but require security controls, which can be a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition technology.
The first contactless credit and debit cards were introduced in 2007 with a limit of £ 10. The threshold was gradually raised to £ 20 in 2012 and then to £ 30 in 2015.
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