Contactless cards: What’s your limit?

Near field communication (NFC) has flooded the sector, enabling consumers to simply wave their EMV card over a reader to make a purchase. While contactless payments are becoming standard in most marketplaces, the transaction limit varies between countries.

Contactless payment technology allows you to make purchases on your card without any authentication such as a PIN number, verified signature or biometric data. Currently, the threshold differs – sometimes quite drastically – across the globe. The limit is usually quite low – for example, the contactless transactions in the Eurozone is restricted to €25. France, however, is the exception and has just this year raised their limit from €20 to €30 per transaction. In a similar vein, the UK also increased its threshold in 2015 and has since seen an exponential rise in popularity in contactless payment use.

The UK is one of the pioneers in NFC technology, with shoppers using 81.5 million contactless-enabled cards to make more than £1bn in purchases on credit and debit cards in 2015. Since the limit increase, UK contactless payments rose 237% year-on-year.

Hungary has also recorded strong adoption rates, with contactless payments overtaking traditional card transactions in 2016. Hungarian retailers are also responding to the demand, with over 75% of POS terminals now equipped with NFC technology.

Other countries are following the UK and Hungary’s lead, however the purchase threshold still remains inconsistent across the world.