The contactless card payment limit in shops will increase by £15 to £45 as part of measures to combat coronavirus.
Trade association UK Finance, which represents the finance and payments industry, said the decision to raise the limit was made following talks with the retail sector. It follows similar increases recently made elsewhere in Europe.
UK Finance said the changes were already being mulled over, but the process had been accelerated as part of the industry’s response to coronavirus.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the move will reduce the need for physical contact with devices where people need to input their Pin.
Increasing the limit from £30 to £45 will also mean that more transactions can be made without handling cash.
The BRC said the new contactless limit will be operational at some stores across the UK from April 1, but may take some time before it can be applied more widely.
For example, it may take longer to roll out at retailers currently operating at peak capacity.
BRC head of payments policy, Andrew Cregan, said: “The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled out from next week.
“Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under. In the meantime, most customers can continue to make contactless payments for higher amounts using their smart phone.”
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country.
“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.
“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.”
Some £80.5 billion was spent on contactless payments in 2019, UK Finance figures show, up by 16% on the previous year.
Allowing people to “tap and go” on higher value card transactions may also spark concerns about fraud. But, according to UK Finance, contactless fraud equates to just 2.5p in every £100 spent using contactless technology.
UK Finance said contactless fraud on payment cards and devices represents just 3.3% of overall card fraud losses.