UK: contactless cap rises to £100

Since Brexit came into effect, the UK is no longer bound by European standards. The government has taken the decision to raise the contactless payment cap, which will rise in the coming months from £45 to £100.

Supporting retailers and encouraging a recovery in consumer spending

The aim of the government, which had already raised the contactless payment cap from £30 to £45 in March 2020, is to make it easier to pay for purchases and support retail.

A year ago, it was decided to raise the ceiling at European level. At the start of the health crisis, contactless payment was seen as a way of reducing the risk of contamination by avoiding the handling of coins and banknotes.

In France, while 70% of transactions in local shops were still made in cash before the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, the ceiling had been raised on May 11, 2020, from 30 to 50 euros.

Consumers have massively embraced the new contactless payment cap, in all the countries that have revised it upwards. According to UK Finance, the trade association for the UK banking and financial services industry, contactless payments increased by 44% between November 2019 and November 2020.

The fears of some consumer organizations

Despite this increase in the number of contactless payments, some consumer associations are opposed to the government's decision.

In their view, raising the ceiling could lead to a further decline in cash payments, making the most vulnerable groups, who are heavily dependent on cash, even more vulnerable.

The British government is reassuring, and has stated that it will continue to protect cash payments. At the end of 2020, a bill aimed precisely to allow consumers to obtain cash in local shops, without any purchase being necessary.

Yet the decline of cash continues slowly but surely: according to a study by the European Central Bank, 73% of all transactions in the eurozone were carried out in cash in 2019, compared with 76% in 2016.