With Apple Pay coming to the U.K. in July, payment processing services are considering removing the £20 limit on contactless payments in the country.
Speaking to Pocket-Lint, Jeremy Nicholds, Executive Director of Mobile at Visa, confirmed that the decision to remove the limit will be subject to individual retailers:
While there will be some retailers who will keep the £20 limit initially at launch (the limit is soon to rise to £30 in the autumn), not all retailers will have the limit at launch - and there will be others who will choose to get rid of it all together in time.
MasterCard has similarly announced that it'll let retailers raise the limit of transactions:
Currently the vast majority of payment terminals here in the UK are set to accept contactless transactions up to the £20 spending limit, but that will rise to £30 in September (for cards as well). As more digital services like Apple Pay come to market, we're [MasterCard] supporting retailers and banks as they update the terminals so that they can accept authenticated transactions above that limit from digital devices.
For retailers to remove the current limit, they have to upgrade their contact terminals to the latest version of software:
Retailers who wish to accept unlimited contactless transactions from digital devices, should of course get the latest terminal software. The majority of British merchants who currently accept contactless are running systems based on the £20 limit, so they will need to update their terminals if they wish to accept authenticated contactless transactions at a higher value.
Those outlets that do not have a threshold on contactless payments will advertise as such. Apple Pay will be available at over 250,000 locations — including major banks — once it makes its debut in the country in July, although retailers like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury have mentioned that they don't have plans to formally support the payment service at launch. However, any location that currently offers contactless payment terminals will be compatible with the NFC-based technology used by Apple Pay.