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UK contactless limit to be increased to £45 amidst coronavirus pandemic

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What you need to know

  • The UK contactless payment limit is being raised to £45 amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
  • It means that users will be able to use contactless with their phones at the higher limit if a retailer doesn't support Apple Pay from April 1.
  • Apple Pay supporting retailers will still support limitless payments.

The UK contactless payment limit is being raised to £45 in response to the coronavirus outbreak, meaning you'll be able to buy slightly more with your iPhone in retailers that don't support Apple Pay.

According to UK Finance:

The spending limit for contactless card payments will be increased from £30 to £45, with a national roll-out beginning from 1 April 2020, UK Finance has announced.The decision to raise the limit was taken following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past week.The changes were already under consideration by the industry, but the process has been expedited as part of the industry's response to the Covid-19 outbreak to support consumers who choose to pay using contactless at this time.

The release notes that the rollout will take "some time" to be introduced to all retailers, especially ones dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

Of course, there is no limit to payments that are made using Apple Pay in the UK, however, only a select number of stores in the UK officially support Apple Pay, such as McDonald's, Boots, M&S, Starbucks, etc. This measure covers all stores in the UK that accept contactless (which is nearly all of them), but don't yet support Apple Pay. You can see more stores that support Apple Pay at Apple's official website. (opens in new tab)

So why is this important? It means that from April 1st, you'll be able to use your iPhone at any contactless terminal to make payments of up to £45, even if the outlet doesn't support Apple Pay. Retailers that support Apple Pay will still allow you to make purchases with no spending limit. You can use your iPhone at any terminal that supports contactless, but if the retailer doesn't support Apple Pay, you're currently limited to £30.

The move comes as shops and retailers left open are trying to encourage more people to pay by card, and where possible contactless, in order to minimize the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the country. Recently the governments of Greece, Ireland, Malta, Poland, and Turkey have taken similar steps.

How to use Apple Pay: The Ultimate Guide.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.