From the 15th October 2021, the contactless spend limit will be increased to £100 from £45 across the UK, the highest contactless spend limit in Europe. Nick Fryer, Chief Technology Officer at card machine provider, Dojo, shares his thoughts on what this means for customers safety.
Contactless payments now account for 27% of all payments, this is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers no longer want to handle cash and touch payment terminals. Due to the increased safety, convenience and protection, six out of ten debit card payments are now contactless, opposed to just four out of ten in 2019. Consumers are also used to higher contactless limits due to the popularity of Apple and Google Pay systems, which offer less transaction restrictions on mobile devices.
Increasing the contactless card limit to £100 is a positive move for payment systems that use ‘softpos’, which is the software that allows customers to pay with their smartphones. These systems reduce the costs of accepting credit and debit cards, as they massively reduce the hardware needed for merchants. This will also increase the number of retailers offering card payments, where normally cash is the only option. Some UK cards are capable of accepting PIN on devices like this and are limited to payments under the contactless threshold, so the increase would be welcome news.
Of course, some consumers fear the potential fraud risks that come with a higher limit. To help combat this the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) implements a limit to the number of contactless payments you can make through its Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), meaning customers can only make 5 payments using contactless (or if the sum of consecutive contactless transactions exceeds £150) before chip and pin is required. Lloyds Bank, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland have announced personalised contactless limits to allow customers to set their contactless spend limit to their desired amount for peace of mind.”
6 quick tips to stay secure with contactless spending
The increased use of technology has caused the number of scams to increase, in particular during the pandemic. It is essential to protect yourself from falling victim to fraud. Below are six tips to follow to ensure you feel safe and secure with your finances.
- Check your bank statement regularly
Something that we have access to, yet almost always forget. Often with contactless payments we forget to check our bank statements, so can lose track of our outgoings. A good tip is to make sure you keep a log of your transactions, so if you have a statement of money that looks odd, you can check it straight away. Ensure you set up biometric login on your devices if possible, this reduces the chances of your passwords being compromised.
2. Check if your bank allows you to set a contactless limit
The Lloyds banking group, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are allowing their customers to choose their own contactless spend limit. This is helpful for consumers that want tighter control over their spending limits for budget control especially, as contactless allows consumers to spend more, faster. If you’re concerned about how the £100 limit may affect your spending habits, check if your bank sets a limit. If not, there are debit and credit cards that allow you to set budget goals.
3. Turn your online banking notifications on
Most online bank providers allow you to turn on notifications to notify you when a payment is taken from your bank account, this is a great way to stop any unwanted surprises when you go to check your bank statement. It is also a great way to keep track of your spending and outgoings on a monthly basis.
4. Spread your money across different accounts
Once you have your salary for the month, try splitting it across different accounts. Bills can go into one account whereas shopping and socialising can go into another. If money going missing is a concern, and if this does happen, you will have money in these other accounts, so you’re not losing months’ worth of salary in one go.
5. Know the signs of a scam
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a rise of scammers targeting people online. Through impersonation scams, romance fraud and investment scams, consumers have been at even more risk than before to be victim to an online scam. Therefore, it is essential to know the signs of a scam to keep your finances secure. For example: if someone you don’t know randomly contacts you, you are pressured into buying something, you are asked to pay in an unusual way, such as cryptocurrency, gift cards or wire transfer.
6. Use a protective cardholder
Purchase a protective cardholder that blocks out radio signals used by fraudsters to activate your contactless when they walk past you. With fraud on the rise during COVID-19, criminals have become more tech-savvy and while it’s an unlikely event, there’s a small possibility they could steal your card details just by being in your close proximity. The physical card does not even need to be stolen, the details of the card can be taken from you and used elsewhere on the internet.