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Contactless card limit rising to £100 next Friday: Which banks will allow you to lower the limit?

From next Friday, Britons will be able to spend up to £100 using a contactless card without having to input their Pin.

The national roll-out of the new £100 spending limit for contactless card payments begins from 15 October, with government, banks and retailers claiming it will help boost the economy.

In the past four years the number of contactless payments in the UK has risen from seven per cent of all payments to 27 per cent, according to UK Finance.

UK shoppers will soon be able to pay up to £100 for every in store transaction without being required to enter their pin code.

The increase accelerated in 2020 when contactless payments grew by 12 per cent, spurred on by a 50 per cent limit increase from £30 to £45 from 1 April 2020.

The proportion of debit card payments using contactless has risen during the pandemic, from two in five in 2019 to three in five by September 2020.

David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance, said: Contactless payment has proved very popular with consumers and an increasing number of transactions are being made using contactless technology.

‘The increase in the limit to £100 will allow people to pay for higher value transactions like their weekly shop or filling up their car with fuel.

‘The payments industry has worked hard to put in place the infrastructure to enable retailers to update their payments systems so they can start to offer their customers this new higher limit.’

But while many shoppers will welcome the convenience of rarely having to enter their Pin, others will be more concerned about the potential security implications were a pick pocket to take advantage.

Some will want to know whether they can opt out, lower the limit, and in case of theft, how many times their card can be tapped before either a pin is required, or it is blocked. 

We spoke to each of the major banks to find out what they are doing to support those that are concerned about the new £100 contactless card limit.

Barclays

Barclays say that through its app, customers can place a variety of card controls to personalise their card to the way they would like it to be used.

For example, they can set spend limits, turn off certain payment types such as internet payments, change the limit for daily ATM withdrawals and choose to either temporarily freeze or block payments in the event of their card being lost or stolen.

While customers don’t currently have the specific option to set their own contactless limits, they can set spend limits across all their transactions, which includes contactless transactions.

Some critics and money experts fear the new £100 contactless limit could lead to a rise in fraud and theft.

Some critics and money experts fear the new £100 contactless limit could lead to a rise in fraud and theft.

The bank claims contactless payments are covered by the same fraud protection as chip and pin transactions but that it will occasionally ask customers to enter their Pin.

Barclays also offers non-contactless cards to its banking customers should they prefer.  

If you can’t find your card but don’t think it’s been lost or stolen, you can use the app to freeze it temporarily. 

This prevents it being used to pay in-store and online, and blocks withdrawals from cash machines. 

Nationwide

Nationwide Building Society will offer its customers the ability to turn off the contactless function by 15 October, although customers can also request a non-contactless card if preferred.

Britain’s biggest mutual claims it is planning to give its customers the ability to lower the limit in the future although did not give a date as to when this would be.

For those who use the contactless card, after a set number of transactions or when a set amount has been spent, depending on which is reached first, they will be asked to input their Pin for added security – although Nationwide would not disclose the figure that determines this.

If you lose your card you can pause the card via its banking app, giving you time to try and find it or cancel the card if your search efforts are in vain.

In either case this will prevent any further contactless payments being made whilst Nationwide claim any payment made by someone else before the card is reported stolen, will be refunded. 

TSB

It will not be possible for TSB customers to lower the £100 limit, but you can choose to have a non-contactless card instead.

For those that use a contactless card, TSB claim that on occasions, you will be prompted to enter your Pin as a security measure.

You can report your card as lost or stolen via its banking app, internet banking or by phone call.

If your card is stolen TSB claim you will benefit from its fraud refund guarantee.

The bank claims it has refunded 98 per cent of all bank fraud cases. 

NatWest & RBS

Although NatWest and RBS don’t offer the option of a non-contactless card to those that would prefer one, customers can stop their card from effectively being contactless if they so wish via the mobile banking app.

NatWest and RBS will on occasions force you to enter your pin based on a total spend amount, although to help prevent fraud it won’t disclose its limit for this. 

Customers can also take advantage of the freeze card option in the app if they are unable to find their card or believe it might be stolen.

Lloyds banking customers will have access to new card controls which will allow them to toggle contactless on and off or set their own contactless limit

Lloyds banking customers will have access to new card controls which will allow them to toggle contactless on and off or set their own contactless limit

Lloyds Bank, Halifax & Bank of Scotland

Customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland will have control over their contactless limit on their debit cards, through the mobile app.

Customers can also request a non-contactless card is they so wish.

If registered for internet banking, customers will also be able to change their limits in branch and over the phone.

Customers will have access to card controls which will allow them to toggle contactless functionality on and off or set their own contactless limit, between £30 and £95, in increments of £5.

It says this option will also be available for credit card customers, including MBNA customers in the weeks after.

Santander

Turning off contactless payments is only available for Mastercard rather than Visa customers. 

Santander Mastercard customers can turn off the contactless functionality on their cards by opting to ‘block contactless’ in mobile banking – although non-contactless cards are available to customers on request.

Santander says it is currently working on an option for customers to be able to request lower contactless limits.

You’ll always need to input your Pin for your first purchase on any new card before contactless will work, which is industry standard. 

The bank will also sometimes ask for you to enter your Pin to confirm that it’s still you using the card.

The bank says it reviews all reports of fraud on a case-by-case basis, however in the majority of contactless cases it won’t look to contest.

HSBC

HSBC does not offer the ability to set individual contactless limits, but customers can request a non-contactless card if that is their preference.

If you lose your card but are unsure as to whether it has been stolen you you can put a temporary block on your card using the mobile banking app or via online banking. 

The bank claims customers are fully protected against all unauthorised card fraud.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is introducing a new control feature to allow customers to set their own contactless payment limit when the new £100 limit is introduced.

Starling bank customers will be able to select a limit of their choice between £0 and £100 in £10 increments.

Starling bank customers will be able to select a limit of their choice between £0 and £100 in £10 increments.

Its customers will be able to select a limit of their choice between £0 and £100, in £10 increments via a new control feature in the app.

Customers will also be able to turn off contactless payments entirely by setting the limit at £0.

For those who keep the contactless limit but then fear they have lost their card they can use the app to lock and unlock it instantly. 

Alternatively, they can opt to disable contactless, chip and pin or online payments via the app.

Monzo

Monzo will not be enabling customers to lower their contactless limit, but if customers have lost their card and are worried that someone might use it to pay for things they can freeze their card instantly via the Monzo app.

Customers always have instant spending notifications when using Monzo so they should know immediately if someone else is using their card.

Monzo currently asks for a Pin when a customer spends up to £100 on multiple transactions, So once a customer spends up to £100 multiple times they will be asked for their Pin.

Unlike most other banks, Monzo does not offer its customers non-contactless cards if that is what they prefer.

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