Contactless card limit rises to £100 - how to avoid being scammed

Asia's Tech News Daily

This most recent change came into effect on October 15, 2021 and is the fifth time the card payment threshold has been raised since 2017. The last limit was £45 per contactless payment, and now many retailers’ card terminals will need to be updated. Therefore, the option to pay upwards of £45 will not be available everywhere as of now, a process which can take a period of months.

According to UK Finance, 60 percent of all debit and credit card transactions across the country have been contactless from January to July of this year.

The trade body estimates that this accounts for 6.6 billion payments, with an overall value of £81.4billion.

Furthermore, UK Finance found more than a quarter of all bank transactions in 2020 were contactless, which is a dramatic rise from the seven percent of contactless payment registered in 2016.

Contactless card limits were raised to £45 in the early days of the pandemic as a social distancing measure to encourage people to make speedy payments without physical contact or cash.

© GETTY card1

However, some experts are concerned that the rise in prominence of contactless card payments will attract negative attention from those looking to commit scams.

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, outlined the danger high contactless card limits often pose to consumers, citing the raise to £100 as a potential threat.

Ms Suter said: “Despite being sold as a way for people to spend more conveniently, the move is a paradise for thieves, who can steal hundreds of pounds from you before you’ve even noticed.

“Fraud protections aimed at stopping thieves mean that everyone is required to enter their PIN if there are multiple transactions up to £130.

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“But this is now more than doubling too, to accommodate the new £100 limit, and means that thieves won’t face a request for a PIN until they’ve spent £300.

“If you have multiple cards in your purse or wallet, the total amount stolen could quickly rack up.

“Bank bosses point to the advance of technology helping to fight fraud, as some allow people to quickly freeze their cards in an app if it’s lost or stolen.

“This works for younger or digitally-savvy customers, but leaves vulnerable customers, older people and the less digitally savvy out in the cold.

© GETTY card2

“For those wary of the new £100 limit, a handful of banks are allowing people to set their own, lower contactless limit.

“Unfortunately, not many are offering this and the default will be for people to be automatically switched to the higher rate and have to opt-in to a lower limit, meaning many will sleepwalk into a £100 limit without realising it.”

Among the banks which are offering their consumers a personal contactless payment limit, as a means of protection, are Halifax, Lloyds and the Bank of Scotland.

Recently, Halifax published a list of the five contactless card myths which many consumers believe and debunked each to encourage people to use the payment method.

One of the most common myths is that if someone’s card is lost or stolen, someone could spend their money and they will not get it back.

In response to this, the bank stated: “We have security measures in place that will protect your hard earned cash if someone ever managed to get hold of your card.

“Contactless uses the same level of security as a Chip & PIN transaction, and has certain features that limit fraud.

“For instance, your contactless card can only be used for transactions under a certain amount.

“And as an extra security measure, we’ll also ask you to enter your PIN every few transactions if you use a Halifax contactless Visa debit card.

“This is our way of checking in with you, and making sure nobody else has got their hands on your card.

“Meanwhile, if you know your card is lost or stolen you can cancel your card; it’s easy to do this over the phone or via our Mobile Banking app.

“Security measures will then alert us if someone is trying to use a blocked card, and the transaction will be declined.

“Even if someone does manage to spend money before your card’s cancelled, our fraud protection guarantee is in place to protect you and put your mind at ease – helping you to get your money back.”

Currently, the majority of bank customers across the UK will be able to spend upwards of £100 on contactless payments as of last week.

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