Amid a fanfare of publicity, the financial sector and the high street are preparing for the October 15 introduction of £100 contactless payments limits but guess which sector’s been conveniently ignored? Peter Hannibal of the Gambling Business Group asks why.
Banking trade body UK Finance has confirmed that the national roll-out of the new £100 spending limit for contactless card payments will begin from 15 October 2021.
The decision to raise the contactless limit from £45 was made by HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority following a public consultation and in discussion with both the retail and banking sectors. It follows on from the successful increase in the limit from £30 to £45 in April 2020.
From 15 October 2021, consumers will start to see retailers accepting contactless payments up to the new £100 limit, which will give customers more flexibility when shopping in store. Given the number of terminals which will need to be updated to accept the new limit, it will take some time to be introduced across all retailers.
Consumers spending more than £100 can use alternatives such as Apple Pay or Google Pay which do not have an upper limit when authenticated through biometric technologies like fingerprint or facial recognition.
David Postings, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said: “Contactless payment has proved very popular with consumers and an increasing number of transactions are being made using contactless technology. The increase in the limit to £100 will allow people to pay for higher value transactions like their weekly shop or filling up their car with fuel. The payments industry has worked hard to put in place the infrastructure to enable retailers to update their payments systems so they can start to offer their customers this new higher limit.”
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak added: “Increasing the contactless limit will make it easier than ever to pay safely and securely – whether that’s at the local shops, or your favourite pub and restaurant. As people get back to the high street, millions of payments will be made simpler, providing a welcome boost for retailers and shoppers.”
During the pandemic contactless payments increased dramatically with some retailers citing concerns regarding the transmission of Covid-19 as a reason not to accept cash. UK Finance said the number of contactless payments reached a record high of 1.1 billion, worth some £13.6 billion in May, a total that’s more than double the £6.7 billion spent two years previously, pre-pandemic. Of all card payments made in May 2021 62 percent were contactless.
Peter Hannibal, chief executive of the Gambling Business Group believes the increase in the single transaction contactless limit illustrates how far the industry has been left behind the evolutionary curve. He stated: “While the rest of the economy is able to offer customers a range of different payment methods the bricks and mortar gambling industry has been left floundering in what feels like a pre-decimal world. There is a clear divergence between what The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is saying: ‘Increasing the contactless limit will make it easier than ever to pay safely and securely – whether that’s at the local shops, or your favourite pub and restaurant’ to the approach being taken with cashless gambling. The general public can either be trusted with cashless transactions or they cannot. Is it really the job of governments or regulators to decide which types of transactions the public can be trusted with and which they can’t? The raising of the contactless limit from £30 to £45 and now to £100 is a clear government endorsement that the UK Public CAN be trusted. The review of gambling must take note of how far adrift our industry actually is and continues to be pushed when our neighbours on the high street are able to offer their customers the breadth of choice that’s at the very heart of modern retailing.”