UK Contactless Spending Limit to Increase From £30 to £45 Beginning Next Month

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Apr 12, 2001
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The U.K. spending limit for contactless card payments is to increase from £30 to £45, meaning iPhone users will soon be able to pay for more expensive shopping bills using their smartphones in stores where limitless Apple Pay transactions aren't supported.


The increase in the upper limit on contactless payments is set to roll out nationally beginning from April 1, UK Finance today announced.

To put the change into context, many merchants set up their terminals to only accept contactless payments of up to £30, regardless of whether you're swiping a bank card or using Apple Pay. While some banks don't set a limit on Apple Pay transactions, Apple notes that you might not be able to use Apple Pay for purchases over £30, depending on the retailer.

The decision to raise the standard debit card contactless limit to £45 is said to have been taken following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry, and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past week.

The changes were reportedly already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry's response to the global viral pandemic to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless.

Stephen Jones, CEO 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."
UK Finance notes that the new limits could take some time to be introduced across all retailers, but eventually they'll offer people another way to pay shopping bills without handling money or touching payment terminals, which should help in the fight against the current viral outbreak.

Of course, in the meantime U.K. consumers spending more than £45 can still use Chip & Pin, cash, and biometric-authenticated mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, where accepted.

Article Link: UK Contactless Spending Limit to Increase From £30 to £45 Beginning Next Month
 
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profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,514
4,363
These limits really need to change. In Canada we’ve had contactless for what feels like forever. But still mostly see the generic $100 limit.

I can appreciate that limit when tapping a card, but with Apple Pay (or other phone based payments), there really shouldn’t be a limit given security requirements around it.

Though in fairness most of the time it’s driven by the bank and the merchant.
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,691
3,381
I hope people realise that has nothing to do with Apple whatsoever. Contactless debit cards will be increased to £45. So people who might or might not be infected with Covid-19 can pay £30.01 to £45.00 without handing money over and passing viruses to staff or vice versa. Even if they have never heard of Apple or Apple Pay.

Guys, don't be so self-centered. Think a bit.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2013
787
217
Wonderland
"To understand what the change means, it's important to note the difference between making a contactless payment using your iPhone and using Apple Pay to pay for something with your iPhone."

I'm not sure I understand the difference here. Making a contactless payment with your iPhone is through Apple Pay. What other ways are there? Are we talking about the terminal specifically supporting Apple Pay? It's been my understanding that all NFC-enabled terminals automatically do.
 

simps100

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2012
146
31
UK
Wow... not even the cost of a dinner. Apple Pay is seriously crippled in the UK.
This is just the contactless limit (same as tapping a card) many retailers in the U.K. now seem to officially support Apple Pay so its unlimited.

I’m in the U.K.and I’d say 99% of my transactions are Apple Pay - the only place which don’t accept it and is cash only is when I get my hair cut!
 
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bigchrisfgb

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2010
1,208
331
These limits really need to change. In Canada we’ve had contactless for what feels like forever. But still mostly see the generic $100 limit.

I can appreciate that limit when tapping a card, but with Apple Pay (or other phone based payments), there really shouldn’t be a limit given security requirements around it.

Though in fairness most of the time it’s driven by the bank and the merchant.
In the UK there is generally no limit on Apple Pay and Google pay transactions.
 

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
134
208
Liverpool, UK
I'm not sure I understand the difference here. Making a contactless payment with your iPhone is through Apple Pay. What other ways are there? Are we talking about the terminal specifically supporting Apple Pay? It's been my understanding that all NFC-enabled terminals automatically do.
Apologies, the wording wasn't entirely clear. It's been changed for clarity.
 

Adrian Andrews

macrumors newbie
Jan 2, 2017
11
9
The contactless limit makes no difference to ApplePay it only applies to cards. I have spent thousands of pounds in one transaction more than once and spend over £45 regularly.
- - Post merged: - -

You need to enter your PIN when paying $100+ on contactless here. The same applies in the UK—£45+ is not far off.
Not true. I've never had to enter a PIN and have spent over £45 hundreds of times.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,691
3,381
I'm not sure I understand the difference here. Making a contactless payment with your iPhone is through Apple Pay. What other ways are there? Are we talking about the terminal specifically supporting Apple Pay? It's been my understanding that all NFC-enabled terminals automatically do.
No, old terminals don't "support" Apple Pay. Your phone detects that the terminal doesn't support Apple Pay, and then it pretends to be a contactless debit card with a special number. The terminal never knows that there was a phone anywhere nearby. It thinks there's just a contactless debit card. That's why you have a limit of £30 currently which has now been raised. Not for Apple Pay, but for contactless debit cards.
 

chochazel

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2010
19
3
Leeds
Wow... not even the cost of a dinner. Apple Pay is seriously crippled in the UK.
What was it about "Of course, in the meantime U.K. consumers spending more than £45 can still use Chip & Pin, cash, and biometric-authenticated mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, where accepted." that confused you?!

There's no limit on Apple Pay.
 

Drogba11

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2018
132
331
I’ve noticed in the US when my Apple Pay transactions are over $50 I need to do a signature on the payment device. I always wondered why sometimes I had to sign and sometimes I didn’t.
 

centauratlas

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
1,166
1,668
Florida
I don't get this limit I did a bit over $13,000 on Apple Pay contactless back in spring 2019 without an issue. Seems like odd limits. No signature, PIN or anything else.

Contactless is much more secure than the alternatives whether Apple Pay or not, so it seems just archaic for some countries (or issuers?) to have limits like that.
 

bryce.wilson93

macrumors newbie
Oct 3, 2015
22
57
I’d imagine that this limit is set to protect the lesser contactless payment options. If the merchants/lawmakers truly understood Apple Pay and it’s security, they wouldn’t put any limits on it.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
3,851
6,042
San Diego, CA, USA
I’ve noticed in the US when my Apple Pay transactions are over $50 I need to do a signature on the payment device. I always wondered why sometimes I had to sign and sometimes I didn’t.
This is something controlled by the credit card companies and the stores.

I’ve heard it explained before like this (I don’t have any proof this is true, but it makes a lot of sense): every transaction gets a score representing how likely it is to be authentic, based on a large number of factors, including, say, how closely the address provided with the transaction matches the one on file (this specific example would more likely be for an online transaction), down to things like, say, the address they’re supplying with the transaction has your 5-digit zip code, but the address the credit card company has on file has your 9-digit zip code - both are correct but they don’t match exactly (another example would be one side having your middle initial, while the other has only first and last name) - each such discrepancy lowers the score a bit. And the lower the score, the higher the fee the credit card company charges for processing it (at some point, obviously, they simply refuse the transaction). One thing that raises the score is getting a signature. So, various stores establish policies requiring signatures and such at various transaction amounts, based on how much they’re willing to pay to process the transaction (knowing that lowering the requirements on customers makes them a tiny bit more likely to buy stuff, statistically - it’s a balancing act). Of course, the specific card companies can also have mandatory requirements for the transaction at various levels.
 

aperantos

macrumors member
Feb 18, 2008
84
10
London, U.K.
I don't get this limit I did a bit over $13,000 on Apple Pay contactless back in spring 2019 without an issue. Seems like odd limits. No signature, PIN or anything else.

Contactless is much more secure than the alternatives whether Apple Pay or not, so it seems just archaic for some countries (or issuers?) to have limits like that.
Contactless means a debit or credit card with an NFC chip. And it is not secure because anyone can use such a card without any going though any security or identity measures.

Hence the maximum spending limit which is designed to be useful for quick everyday purchases — such as cups of tea, using public transport, or picking up ingredients for tea on the way home — whilst avoiding the risk of someone running up a high bill on expensive items should the card be lost or stolen.

Otherwise it would be like walking around carrying whatever your credit limit is in cash.

Apple Pay is unlimited because it does have a security measure, with transactions needing to be authenticated via Touch ID or Face ID in place of a signature or PIN. There are no limits on Apple Pay transactions.

But where Apple Pay is not accepted by a merchant, an Apple Pay device can still be used to make contactless payments, and this is why they incur a limit.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,691
3,381
Wow... not even the cost of a dinner. Apple Pay is seriously crippled in the UK.
You get dinner for two at M&S for £10. So where, tell me, would you go to dinner today, that takes more than £10? Or less for that matter (McDonald's closed yesterday at 7pm).
- - Post merged: - -

Contactless means a debit or credit card with an NFC chip. And it is not secure because anyone can use such a card without any going though any security or identity measures.
Since that won't be clear to some people: I can pull that card out of your pocket and use it. Up to the £30 (now £45) limit, and nobody knows who took the money out of your account. I can't do that with Apple Pay because we don't have the same finger prints.
 

sflagel

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2012
12
4
The people that write these articles really cannot convey even the simplest concepts. This limit increase has nothing to do with Apple Pay: the limit in the UK has increased for contactless payments using a plastic credit card (when you just hover the card over the terminal, no PIN required).

There is no limit, and hasn't been one as far back as I can remember, for payments with Apple Pay (no matter whether you use your iPhone or your Apple Watch; also no PIN required). The picture of someone holding a phone over a reader is even more misleading.

The only time you need your PIN in the UK now is when you make a payment over £45 with a plastic credit card; or if you happen to have stumbled across one of the very few card readers left that do not support contactless payments.
 
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sflagel

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2012
12
4
If you’re going to raise it, why not raise it more? Changing it a measly £15 seems odd. I imagine going up to £100 would cover 98% of transactions.
It should not have been raised at all, even £45 is too much given that anyone that finds/steals your card can buy unlimited number of goods without needing a signature or PIN.
 
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