VICTORIA BISCHOFF: With the contactless limit set to increase to £100… is it becoming too easy to splurge?
Spending money has never been so easy. Just a quick tap of your card and you’re away.
But with the contactless limit set to more than double to £100, is it becoming too easy to splurge?
Any budgeting expert will tell you that if you want to rein in your spending you should switch to cash.
Reckless move? Contactless payments that don’t require a Pin leave us with even less time to reconsider purchases
Handing over a flimsy piece of plastic just doesn’t land the same punch as parting with ‘real’ banknotes — so you are more likely to get carried away.
And contactless payments with no Pin leave us with even less time to reconsider purchases.
This wasn’t too worrying when the limit was just £30 or even £45.
But when shoppers can part with £100 in seconds, they risk leaving a much more noticeable dent in their finances.
‘Pinging payments’ or ‘touch-and-go’ has soared in popularity during the pandemic amid virus fears.
But banks must allow customers who are nervous about contactless technology, or concerned about debt, to opt for a smaller limit.
Many Money Mail readers say banks should go further and allow them to ditch the contactless feature altogether.
Yet the Treasury is desperate to give the UK economy a much-needed boost and suspects a bigger limit will help get the nation’s tills ringing again when lockdown lifts.
Savers will have amassed an extra £180 billion by the summer and ministers want it to be as easy as possible to spend this loot.
Amazon understands the value of a seamless shopping experience very well. Its speedy online checkout is what keeps so many of us going back.
The e-commerce king is now even trialling till-free stores, where shoppers don’t pay a penny until they have left the shop.
Customers are instead emailed the bill later that day and the money is automatically deducted from their bank account.
Amazon knows its shoppers will need superhuman self-discipline to avoid overspending.
Apple Pay, meanwhile, has encouraged a fair few impulse purchases of my own in lockdown.
But with greater convenience comes greater responsibility.
Modern spending habits mean our bank statements are busier than ever before, with dozens of payments leaving our accounts every month.
So it’s vital we all pay closer attention to avoid missing errors or charges for services we no longer use.
Last month, we revealed how teenagers are sitting on around £400 million in forgotten child trust fund savings.
The issue sparked a lively debate with my auntie Elizabeth, whose son Oliver has just claimed his cash after turning 18 in January.
As she pointed out, it would be easy for secondary schools to contact pupils and parents to make sure they are aware of the money.
Yet when I asked the Department for Education if it was working with schools to raise awareness of the lost cash, its response was uninspiring to say the least.
Surely the Government can do better than general mumblings about how schools use ‘their professional judgment to develop the right teaching approach’ to financial education.
A simple leaflet for teachers to hand out would be a start. Teenagers are far more likely to open a letter from their school than a financial firm they’ve never heard of. In the meantime, parents who have kept tabs on the cash should follow my auntie’s lead and encourage their children to spread the word among their friends.
Every little helps
Tesco Mobile has launched a punchy advertising campaign slamming other networks for hiking bills mid-contract.
‘It’s how they’ve made nearly £1 billion extra from customers from 2013,’ the newspaper advert reads. ‘And this spring, when people have enough to worry about, most are introducing big increases once again. We’d like to apologise on their behalf.’ Ouch.
Many customers have no idea their bills can soar before their contract expires. If you lock into an energy tariff or mortgage deal with a fixed term, your rates stay the same. So why can telecom giants hike prices as they like?
Fair play to Tesco for shunning this sneaky tactic.