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How to set a contactless card spending cap to avoid the new £100 limit from 15 October

How to set a contactless card spending cap to avoid the new £100 limit from 15 October

The contactless card payment limit is rising from £45 to £100 on 15 October. But Bank of Scotland, Danske Bank UK, Halifax, Lloyds and Starling will let you set your own limit, and others plan to do the same in future. Some providers will also let you turn off contactless completely. Here's what you need to know.

From 15 October, shoppers will be able to make an in-store purchase of up to £100 without using their PIN. The change comes in following a public consultation and after discussions between the Treasury and the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

See the table below for a bank-by-bank explanation of what's happening.

Which card providers allow you to set your own contactless limit from 15 October?

Card provider Can I set my own contactless limit? Can I turn off contactless completely? (i) Does this apply to all debit and/or credit cards?
American Express
Bank of Scotland

 

Between £30 and £95. Via app, online or phone (ii)

 

Via app, online or phone (you must be registered for online banking to change limit)

 

Debit card only

Barclaycard
Barclays

(iii)

 

Via app, online, phone or in branch

Capital One
Danske Bank UK

 

Between £0 and £100. Via app, phone or in branch

 

Via app, phone or in branch (v)

Halifax

 

Between £30 and £95. Via app, online or phone (ii)

 

Via app, online or phone (you must be registered for online banking to change limit)

 

Debit card only

HSBC
Lloyds Bank

 

Between £30 and £95. Via app, online or phone (ii)

 

Via app, online or phone (you must be registered for online banking to change limit)

 

Debit card only

MBNA

(ii)
Monzo

 

(iv)

 

Via app

Nationwide 

(iv)


By phone
 
NatWest

 

Via app



Debit card only
RBS

 

Via app



Debit card only
Santander 

 

(iv)

 

Via app or phone

 

Mastercard debit and credit cards only

Starling

 

Between £10 and £90. Via app

 

Via app

TSB

Via app, phone or online

Data correct as of 12 October 2021. Info for children's accounts or business accounts may differ. (i) Some banks will allow you to turn off contactless functionality completely, while others will send you a new, non-contactless card. (ii) Will introduce contactless caps of between £30 and £95 for credit cards later this year. (iii) There is option to set spend limits across all transactions, which includes contactless transactions, via the app. (iv) Considering introducing this functionality in future. (v) Can set limit to £0, effectively turning contactless off.

What's at risk if my card is stolen?

While many welcome the added convenience of the contactless limit increasing, some people report nervousness about the rise (see Martin's Twitter poll responses on the change below) as they worry about their exposure to theft on the back of this.

Currently, regulations state that providers will prevent contactless payments where you try to spend above the contactless limit, where you've made more than five contactless transactions in a row using the same card, or where the total amount spent since you last had to verify a transaction exceeds £130 (this is changing to £300 from 15 October). However, payment providers do have the ability to set tighter limits than the FCA's maximum. 

So if you are concerned about fraud and what might happen if someone steals your contactless card, you should think about your contactless limit as if you were carrying cash. Consider how much cash you would feel comfortable carrying around at any one time and set that as your contactless limit if your provider allows you to do so.

Of course, if your card is stolen, cancel it as soon as possible and notify your provider. You should also monitor your statement for any suspicious transactions.

However, responding to concerns that raising the contactless limit could lead to increased levels of fraud, the Treasury said there was no significant rise in reported fraud when the limit was raised from £30 to £45 last year. It added that reported fraud equated to 0.02% of the total spent using contactless cards since April 2020.

There are no upper limits for mobile payments

According to banking trade body UK Finance, mobile payments, such as those made via Apple Pay or Google Pay, do not have an upper spending limit when verified through biometric technology, such as fingerprint or facial recognition. However, a retailer or your card provider itself – if you link mobile payments to your card – may still put limits in place that override this.

Apple Pay says that given it doesn't set the limits itself, you'd need to ask your card provider whether you can put a cap on this type of spending. We've also put this to Google Pay and we'll update this story when we know more. Of course, when you use such technology, the idea is that someone who's stolen your phone will be much less likely to be able to access your cash.

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