Shoppers can now spend £100 on a contactless card but, as we found, they may struggle to find a store that allows it The tap and go lottery

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  • FCA raises contactless spending limit from £45 to £100 as of Friday
  • The card can be used three times before the spender is asked to enter his PIN
  • This means a total of £300 can now be spent without a verification check
  • Retailers have rebelled against the rollout, fearing it would lead to an increase in fraud.
  • The Post Office says it has no plans to allow £100 contactless transactions

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The Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) raised the contactless limit from £45 to £100 on 15 October, but Money Mail quickly found that retailers were reluctant to adopt it.

This limit sets how much can be spent on a contactless bank card — debit or credit — without having to enter a PIN and verify your identity.

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In April last year it was raised from £30 to £45 as an anti-Covid measure to reduce contact between shoppers and payment terminals.

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Denied: When reporter Amelia Murray (pictured) went to Oxford Street in London to try out her new spending power, she was surprised and skeptical

One card can now be used to make five consecutive contactless payments – or up to £300 – before the spender is asked to enter their PIN.

But retailers have rebelled against the rollout for fear of fraud and that shoppers could walk away with their wares without realizing that the transaction was not processed.

The Post Office says it has no plans to allow £100 contactless transactions. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), some national retail chains are also refusing to update their systems at this time due to lack of customer demand.

The trade body says there are also concerns about ‘contactless walk-offs’, which could cost shops lakhs.

This happens when a contactless payment is blocked and a PIN is requested, but the customer does not realize it and leaves the shop without paying. This is a particular concern for stores with self-service checkouts.

At the £45 limit this problem costs retailers about £33 million a year. It is feared that the damage may now increase significantly.

Other retailers are phasing out the £100 limit while updating their systems. It may take months.

When I tried to spend a three-digit amount on London’s Oxford Street – Europe’s most popular shopping district – with a tap of my debit card, I felt awkward or promised that the system would be updated on Monday. Will go

STumped: When Amelia asked about the new spending limit at Boots, employees weren't aware, saying the only way to find out was to test it on a self-service machine.

Stumped: When Amelia asked about the new spending limit at Boots, employees didn’t know, and said the only way to find out was to test it on a self-service machine.

At John Lewis, I was told below that the limit had been raised to £100, but by the second floor I had to enter my PIN to accept a £95.10 payment for bathrobes, towels and cushions.

Many employees I spoke to had not yet heard of the change. The sales assistant at H. Samuel told me I could only use contactless to pay up to £45, and the manager of the Apple Store on Regent Street mistakenly told me that the limit depends on my bank.

Friday was supposed to bring convenience to shoppers and give the UK economy a boost after the lockdown. But did anyone get the memo?

When I asked in Boots, the staff didn’t even know. He said the only way to find out whether the limit has gone up or not is to test it on a self-service machine.

At Clarks and the House of Fraser, I was told the system would be ready on Monday. A Sainsbury’s employee said she’s heard rumors of the changes but nothing has been updated yet.

The Tesco cashier looked at me like I was making it up when I told him I should be able to make contactless payments for some £60 hair straighteners and the payment was declined. He said: ‘If this was happening, we would have been told.’

The assistants at TK Maxx told me that there have been some contactless payments over £45, but it requested my PIN when I pressed my card on the machine to purchase my £99.98 shirt and jacket.

When I tried again a few days later, it seemed the stores were not ready. In Boots, I was told that didn’t work that morning. And the limit was still not raised in Marks & Spencer and TK Max.

I began to wonder if the staff suspected I was trying to make purchases with a stolen bank card. This is a real concern of many.

The Financial Conduct Authority raised the contactless limit from £45 to £100 as of Friday, but MoneyMail quickly found that retailers were reluctant to adopt it.

The Financial Conduct Authority raised the contactless limit from £45 to £100 as of Friday, but MoneyMail quickly found that retailers were reluctant to adopt it.

The risk with contactless is that someone could steal your card and go on a spree without the need for verification.

If someone steals your card and makes a contactless payment, the money will be refunded – unless you have committed gross negligence. If you find that your card is lost, report it to your bank immediately.

The FCA says that contactless card fraud has not increased after rising to £45 last year, and has not increased in countries where the limit is around £100.

A spokesperson says: ‘Firms must ensure that they work to reduce the risk of unauthorized transactions and fraud and need tools to monitor fraudulent transactions. We will keep a close watch on the data as the limit increases.

There is also the fear that the £100 limit will encourage people to spend more than they expect.

Myron Jobson of the platform Interactive Investor says: ‘Contactless payments are easy and frictionless. Worryingly, the new bumper limit may encourage reckless spending, resulting in some customers going beyond their means.

‘This could lead to debt problems at a time when many people are feeling financially strapped due to the pandemic and rising cost of living.’

You can also ask your bank to limit your spending power.

Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers can set their contactless limit between £30 and £95 (in increments of £5) online or through their mobile phone app. They will also be able to turn the contactless function on and off at will. You can also change your limit at the branch or by phone.

Nationwide customers can switch…

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