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Contactless Payments Just Got Safer as UK Set to Have Highest European Contactless Limit

As the UK announces its plans to raise the contactless limit for debit and credit cards from £45 to £100 on October 15 2021, the personal finance experts at have revealed that cashless just got safer.

For the first time ever, some contactless payments will have the additional protection of Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which covers you for single items worth £100 to £30,000 purchased using a credit card.

This extra layer of protection for shoppers will give some relief to those worried about the contactless limit rising by £55 in one go.

The new limit will see the UK have the highest contactless limit in Europe and move up 13 places in the global ranking from 20th to 7th.

The 10 countries with the highest contactless payment limits in the world from 15 October 2021 are:

  1. Canada – 250 CAD (£147)
  2. Japan – 20,000 JPY (£130)
  3. China – 1,000 CNY (£110)
  4. Australia – 200 AUD (£110)
  5. Singapore – 200 SGD (£107)
  6. New Zealand – 200 NZD (£102)
  7. United Kingdom – £100
  8. United Arab Emirates 500 AED (£97)
  9. Bahrain – 50 BHD (£94)
  10. Hong Kong 1,000 HKD (£92)

In 2020, Visa and Mastercard increased the contactless payment limit in Canada by 150%, from 100 CAD to 250 CAD. Canada now has the highest contactless spending limit in the world.

Japan, has the second-highest limit in the world at 20,000 JPY equating roughly to £130, ahead of fellow Asian economic powerhouse China, which has a limit of 1,000 CNY (£110~).

The 10 countries with the lowest contactless payment limits in the world

  1. Iran – 200,000 IRR (£3)
  2. Malawi – 5,000 MWK (£5)
  3. Ghana – 50 GHS (£6)
  4. Pakistan – 1,500 PKR (£7)
  5. Turkmenistan – 50 TMT (£10)
  6. Chile – 12,000 CLP (£12)
  7. Nepal – 2,000 NPR (£12)
  8. Vietnam – 400,000 VND (£12)
  9. Tajikistan – 200 TJS (£12)
  10. Uzbekistan – 250,000 UZS (£17)

Iran has the lowest recorded contactless limit in the world at 200,000 IRR (£3).

The second-lowest limit in the world is in Malawi. The National Bank of Malawi first introduced contactless payments in 2020, with a contactless limit of 50,000 MWK (£5)

The Czech Republic has the 11th lowest contactless limit in the world and the lowest limit in Europe, at £17 (500 CZK).

Covid-19 and contactless

Commenting on the results of the Cashless Countries report, James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at, explains how the pandemic may have changed the way we use money forever:

“Before the coronavirus pandemic, we were beginning to see a global shift away from paper money towards electronic payments, and that move has been massively accelerated since restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus came into effect.

“The move away from banknotes and coins towards plastic payments and e-wallets presents many advantages. Cashless payments will allow for quick and easy transactions when international travel fully resumes, and the creation of digital paper trails could help reduce tax fraud and money laundering.

“When it comes to day-to-day spending, many of us are likely to benefit from the ease of tapping our debit and credit cards, but the increased limit also presents an opportunity to overspend quickly, which could cause problems for those working with a limited budget.

“Unfortunately this additional push towards cashless could leave vulnerable individuals behind. As things stand, shops are also well within their rights to refuse cash payments in the UK if they choose to go fully cashless – potentially excluding people unwilling or unable to pay with a card or smart device.

“That means any move towards a fully cashless economy will need to be met with infrastructural changes, as well as potentially legislative ones, to ensure every individual within a society has what they need in order to pay for essential goods and services.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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