Contactless spend limit to be increased; COVID-19

On 1 April the spending limit for contactless card payments will be increased from £30 to £45. This is an attempt to reduce the use of paper money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision has been made by the Industry body UK Finance after a consultation between the finance and payments industry and the retail sector. Other countries in Europe have made similar changes in the last week. This increase was already being considered before the COVID-19 outbreak, but the decision has been sped up following advice to make payments by card where possible.

Although the announced start date is 1 April, it may take longer for some retailers to introduce this due to the impact of COVID-19, UK Finance has warned.

Statistics from UK Finance suggested that £80.5bn of payments were contactless in 2019, which is a 16% increase on 2018.

Fraud concerns

Many are worried about the risk of fraudulent activity using contactless payments. However, UK Finance has said that contactless fraud remains low, at around 2.5p for every £100 spent using contactless. Additionally, fraud on contactless payments only represented 3.3% of overall card fraud despite contactless card transactions accounting for 44% of all card transactions last year.

Fraud risk

Please be aware that in this current pandemic there has been an increase in activity by scammers, through emails, text messages and phone calls. This has included emails offering fake medical support, offer of discounts on hand sanitiser, and protective face masks that never arrived. Some scammers are even using the HMRC logo to make offers of financial support.

Please be mindful of potential scams and do not open links in any email or text that looks suspicious. Please report all HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact to [email protected].

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Craig Walker

Senior Tax Manager, Sheffield

0114 266 7141

[email protected]

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