Specific limits for contactless cards
We know that bank cards can be stolen, in which case contactless payments are the easy solution for the thief. This is why, for security reasons, the UK has had a contactless payment limit since the early days of contactless debit and credit cards.
In April 2020, this limit increased from £30 to £45. Then from 15 October 2021, the contactless limit increased to £100 in the UK as a result of the widespread use of contactless transactions due to hygiene fears around touching card machines.
Some were worried about the risk of such a high limit, but people soon embraced the convenience of being able to tap to pay for nearly all everyday transactions.
But every now and then, card issuers require a PIN code to complete a transaction to prevent excessive usage if the card is stolen. Cardholders can use contactless for multiple transactions adding up to £300 before entering a PIN – this is the cumulative transaction threshold, which increased from £130 to £300 in October 2021.
Each bank also has their own rules as to when they ask for a PIN code. Cardholders might, for example, be required to insert their card in the card machine and enter their PIN for every fifth transaction. Using a card away from the usual geographical locations or regular shops can also require chip and PIN validation.