Critics’ View – Contactless Spend Limit Hits £30

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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What do the industry experts think of plans to up the contactless spend?

Tech-savvy shoppers were celebrating earlier this week when it was announced that the limit people are able to spend using contactless debit and credit cards is being raised to £30.

From September, users with applicable contactless cards will be able to spend up to £30 without needing to enter a PIN number, the UK Cards Association (UKCA) has announced.

Currently, shoppers can only spend up to £20 using the technology, simply by tapping their phones onto a compatible reader at store checkouts.

But what does the payments industry think of the news? To find out, TechWeekEurope asked some of the major players for their views…

contactless payments Scott Abrahams, head of acceptance & emerging payments, MasterCard UK&I

“MasterCard is focused on offering smart and secure payment solutions for our customers so it’s great news that the contactless payment limit is rising to £30. The increase opens up contactless technology to more retailers and ultimately provides the consumer with more choice. Our commitment to contactless was proven through our Fare Free Friday initiative which helped promote PIN free payments on the TfL network contributing to the busiest day on the tube in its history. MasterCard has also mandated that, across Europe, all point of sale terminals accepting our cards will be enabled for contactless by 2020.

Both cardholders and merchants can now benefit from more of their payments being faster and more convenient and they can rest assured that MasterCard is readying its network for higher value transactions and mobile payments to continue to develop and improve payments around the world as we have for over 45 years.”

Dave Hobday, managing director of Worldpay UK

“In December 2014, Worldpay processed over 20 million contactless payments across the UK – our biggest month to date – and it’s great to see that the industry is responding to increased demand. Upping the limit to £30 will give customers more freedom when they get to the till and help staff maximise sales during peak times.

Tube TfL contactless Barclaycard (3)“In the long-term, this is also likely to boost the uptake of contactless payment. It is phenomenal how quickly the technology is becoming a must have in sectors like hospitality, food, entertainment and retail. Any retailer still relying just on Chip and PIN is going to end up falling behind their competitors and missing out on ‘tap and go’ trade.”

Peter Keenan, CEO, Zapp

“This decision is great for consumers: we know people want a quick and easy way to pay and they’re clearly becoming more comfortable and confident making instant transactions.

One way we think mobile payments will further improve things will be in the area of financial control. For example, with Zapp you can make fast, secure payments using your smartphone but you can also check your balance at the point of purchase, thereby staying more in control. We think it’s really important that convenience doesn’t lead to financial complacency.”

Raja Ray, director of products and solutions at Verifone

“The increase of the contactless payment limit to £30 is great news for customers and merchants alike, although it is hardly surprising. As UK consumers grow more accustomed to paying with a tap of their cards, it was only a matter of time before changes were made to the current spend limit. The news may ‘un-tap’ a completely new audience for some merchants – consumers who have not yet thought of contactless as an alternative payment method. For those accustomed to contactless technology, it means more convenience and faster transactions and paves the way for future high volume contactless transactions made via mobile phone with NFC.”

Tami Hargreaves, COO Digital Consumer Payments, Barclaycard

“Contactless is fast becoming the preferred way to pay as shoppers increasingly value the speed, ease and security of ‘touch and go’ payments. Our data shows that in 2014 contactless spend more than doubled and this trend is only set to continue as contactless becomes the new habitual way to pay. Choice and convenience are the key requirements for consumers and our commitment is to help them pay the way they want to. Ultimately we are looking towards a world where high value contactless payments become the norm.”

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