What you need to know about the new £100 contactless limit in the UK

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about the UK's contactless limit increase.

digital commerce

Contactless payments provide a quick and simple way to pay for everyday items, and have one of the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment1. From 15 October 2021, contactless card holders in the UK can pay for items up to the value of £100 without the need to enter their PIN.

At Visa, we believe this is good news for shoppers and for businesses and will give people greater flexibility and choice in how they pay instore. 

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the contactless limit increase…

1. Why is the contactless limit increasing?

Contactless is already a hugely popular way of paying for everyday purchases – Over 8 in 10 (82%) instore payments now made through contactless and two-thirds of UK consumers surveyed say they would prefer to use contactless payments as much as or even more than they are currently.2 In fact, 67% of Visa cardholders we surveyed in November told us they wanted the contactless limit to be increased above £453.

So, in response to the rising popularity of contactless, the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) decided to raise the contactless limit4.

Under the new limit, you can pay for more everyday items with a tap of your card, for example, your weekly grocery shop which costs the average UK family £63.705. The change is designed to offer you a quicker and more convenient and way to pay.

2. Will the increased limit pose a higher risk of fraud?

At Visa, we rigorously monitor payments fraud and contactless remains one of the most secure ways to pay. In fact, contactless has one of the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment.6

Contactless fraud can only be attempted physically by using a lost or stolen card. Many of the things people fear, such as fraudsters using mobile payment terminals to “skim” the details from your card, are in reality incredibly unlikely. Visa only processes payments that have been sent from a Visa-approved payment terminal, which can be traced back to an individual or merchant.

If you do suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, you can feel reassured that you have protection. Visa’s Zero Liability Policy means you won’t be left out of pocket if your card is used fraudulently7.

3. What if I lose my card or have it stolen?

The first thing to do when your card is lost or stolen is to alert your bank and ask them to freeze or cancel your card. Many banks will also allow you to do this from their website or mobile app.

Regardless of the contactless limit, all transactions are subject to sophisticated security checks involving multiple layers of technology to pinpoint and prevent fraudulent transactions. If your bank suspects suspicious activity, they can block transactions or request a PIN to authorise the transaction.

Contactless cards also have an inbuilt security function that requires shoppers to enter their PIN after spending £300 or 5 taps (although this may vary slightly depending on who you bank with). This extra layer of authentication is to double check the card is being used by its rightful owner. If your card is used fraudulently, then Visa’s Zero Liability Policy means you have protection.

4. Can I decline the new limit or set my own?

There are a variety of different card controls that may be available to you depending on you who bank with. This means you’re able to choose how you’d like to use your card. For example, many offer you the ability to set spend limits, toggle contactless payments off and on, freeze your card, as well as set up instant alerts so you get a notification each time a transaction is made.

The ability to set your own limit will differ from bank to bank, as well as the type of account you hold with them. If you’d like to know more about managing your own limit, please speak to the bank who issued your card.

Learn more about how contactless payments provides a secure, more convenient way to pay here

1 VisaNet Data, July 2021
2 VisaNet Data, December 2020
3 VisaNet Data, December 2020
FCA, March 2021
Statista, 2020

6 VisaNet Data, December 2020
7 Visa's Zero Liability policy does not apply to certain commercial card and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact your issuer for more detail.

Tag: Digital commerce