Police chief cautions against increase in contactless limits

Police have advised against calls from merchants to raise caps on contactless transactions in order to reduce the risk of fraud.

Contactless has become a way of life for many consumers, particularly in countries like the UK, where the technology has proven to be particularly popular.

Figures from Barclaycard estimate that usage of this technology is set to increase by around 300 percent by 2021, with seven out of ten Brits using contactless more frequently than they did 12 months ago.

As its popularity continues to grow, a survey by the card provider found that it is not only consumers that are keen on the technology – merchants are also keen to encourage the use of touch-and-go due to the perceived productivity gains on offer.

Indeed, a majority of retailers would like to see the use of the technology expanded by raising the spending limit for these transactions raised. Currently, the cap for contactless transactions in the UK stands at £30, but more than half or retailers (53 percent) would like to a see this increased. Of these, 37 percent would favor a £50 limit and one in five (20 per cent) called for a £100 cap.

However, this enthusiasm has not been matched by some authorities, with one senior police officer in the UK coming out against such ideas.

City of London commissioner Ian Dyson stated that at present, it would be safer for the industry to keep the cap at £30 in order to reduce the risk of fraud.

“I would advise against increasing it for the moment because the losses could be quite significant,” he said. “At some point the technology will change and you can raise the limit. The cap is there for sound reasons.”

Despite these concerns, contactless technology has proven to be relatively safe, with the Evening Standard noting that last year, around 2.7 pence was lost to fraud for every £100 spent via contactless card.

It also noted that poor practices by some retailers, such as not downloading payment data to the bank until the end of the day, has contributed to this, which has led regulators to take action in order to ensure the security of the technology.

Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is Banking.com's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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