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Consumer boost

Rise in contactless spending limit ‘a thief’s dream’

More flexibility for consumers

Consumers will be able to spend up to £100 on contactless cards from 15 October amid warnings that it will be a “thief’s dream” and encourage consumers to add to their debt.

The Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority announced the limit would be raised from £45 following a public consultation and discussions with both the retail and banking sectors.

The limit was raised in April last year from £30 to £45 as concerns grew over spreading Covid-19 by touching devices.

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.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:  “As people get back to the high street, millions of payments will made be simpler, providing a welcome boost for retailers and shoppers.”

But Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, warned: “While the move brings more convenience for some it also carries two big warnings. First, it is a thief’s dream, as they can take far more of your money in each transaction if you card is lost or stolen.

“By spending £100 at a pop without having to put in a PIN, it would be very easy for thieves to blitz through money quickly before you even spotted the card had been nicked.

“Second, there is a risk for those who are in debt getting further into debt. The easier a card transaction is the less the consumer is actively thinking about how much they are spending, meaning it’s easier to rack up larger bills on a credit card. 

“People should be able to set their own card limits if they want to, either to scupper thieves or for their own financial management.”

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