Shoppers across the UK will now be able to pay up to £100 using contactless card payment services from today.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the payment cap was increased to £45 to help reduce the need for customers to handle cards and cash due to concerns about the virus being transmitted via surfaces.
But today’s payment limit increase to £100, announced last week, is the most significant yet.
The latest increase, which was initially announced in March’s budget, will not be available everywhere straight away however, as some businesses and retailers still need to roll out changes to their technology, while others may choose not to adopt the new limit at all.
The British Retail Consortium said consumers should check with individual stores, as it could take “days, weeks or even months” for the change to be put in place.
Here’s everything we know so far.
Why is the limit increasing?
As mentioned, the decision to increase the limit was taken by the Treasury and the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and was announced last week, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak first teased it during his 2021 Budget back in March.
Mr Sunak said the decision to increase the limit to £100 would not only be more convenient for shoppers, but it would also be a boost to the High Street following several lockdowns.
When contactless card payments were introduced in 2007, the transaction limit was set at £10 and designed as an alternative to small change – but the limit has been gradually raised five times over a number of years since then.
It increased to £45 last year, as the pandemic accelerated a move away from cash.
The increase also comes after it was found that more than a quarter of all payments in the UK were contactless in 2020, according to figures from the banking trade body UK Finance, with 83% of people using the technology.
A Financial Conduct Authority spokesperson said the rules have been changed to help the industry continue “to respond to the changing ways in which people prefer to pay”.
Why can’t it be used in all retailers just yet?
The short answer is that not every shop is ready to facilitate the new limit from today,
Due to the huge number of terminals which need to be updated, this means that Friday marks the first day of a gradual introduction of the new limit, with the Andrew Cregan – Payments Policy Adviser at the British Retail Consortium – admitting: “It may take days, weeks, or even months for some retailers to make the necessary changes in their systems so that the new limit can take effect.”
“Some retailers may [also] choose not to adopt the new contactless limit,” he added.
“As a result, customers will need to take care when making payments to check what the maximum contactless limit is for individual stores.”
What are the risks?
A number of experts and organisations have spoken out to make shoppers aware of the risks as the limit increases to £100, warning that the change will make contactless cards more of a target for fraudsters, or cause problems for people who are struggling to stay in control of their spending.
Age UK has also warned that because the raising of the limit could increase the potential for fraud, it may therefore put some older people off using bank cards to pay for goods and services when they’re out and about.
Because of this, several banks across the UK have said they will also allow account holders to set a contactless limit of less than £100, or even turn it off altogether.
Gareth Shaw – Head of Which? Money – added: “While paying with contactless offers great flexibility and convenience for many people, some may be wary about the significant increase – so it is encouraging to see some banks allowing customers to set their own contactless limits from as low as £30.
“These changes may make contactless cards slightly more attractive for fraudsters, but encouragingly the risk of being defrauded via a contactless card remains low and if a fraudster does use your card details then your card provider should reimburse you.
“Consumers should be able to feel confident using them.”
Featured Image – Flickr
The Makers Market is coming back to Cutting Room Square every month as of this Sunday
The North West’s hugely popular Makers Market is returning to Ancoat’s Cutting Room Square as of this weekend, marking the start of a monthly community staple.
While Makers Markets have been popping up around the region for years now — Stockport, Cheadle, Salford and Media City; Knutsford, Northern Quarter, Didsbury, Congleton and countless other locations — it’s only ever been at Cutting Room Square just the once as part of a trial run back in November 2022.
However, after going down an absolute treat and just as popular as all the others around Greater Manchester and beyond, the organisers have decided to bring it back on a permanent basis from this weekend onwards. Ancoats just got even better.
Now, as of Sunday, 2 April, city centre residents and those travelling into town will be able to enjoy a regular community market packed with local traders from all over every month. Wonderful stuff.
If for some reason you’ve never come across a Makers Market before, the concept is pretty simple: local businesses and indie traders of all different kinds gather in public spaces like Cutting Room Square, setting up pop-up stalls to sell their wares, whatever they may be.
Whether it’d be homemade food and bakery items, handcrafted prints and textiles, or homeware, second-hand records, flowers and everything in between, there is literally always something for everyone.
More importantly, though, these monthly markets aren’t just another place to shop locally and responsibly, but they genuinely provide a wonderful sense of community, quickly cementing themselves as a regular staple for everyone to look forward to and socialise at.
Typically taking place on the second Sunday of every month and with Cutting Room Square and Ancoats already a popular district for locals and tourists alike, we’re sure the atmosphere is going to be great.
You’ve also got the successful Ancoats Pop Up events scattered throughout the rest of the 2023 calendar too — happy days.
We look forward to a year filled with plenty more markets all around Greater Manchester!
You can check out the full list of traders that will be appearing at this weekend’s Makers Market at Cutting Room Square HERE.
Graeme Park thanks fans for ‘valued support’ and launches fundraiser in memory of late son
Graeme Park has thanked fans for their “valued support” following the devastating passing of his teenage son last week.
The former Hacienda legend and his family have also set up a fundraiser in his memory.
The DJ took to social media last week to share the heartbreaking news that his “true warrior” son Oliver had passed away at the age of 18 after a year-long battle with a rare cancer.
In a tribute to the late teenager, Graeme described his son as a “kind, loving, and beautiful soul” who “fought so hard until the very end” but was sadly taken “far too soon” when he “had so much more love to offer to this world”.
Graeme’s initial post drew in thousands of messages of love and support from the Greater Manchestermusic and entertainment community and beyond, as well as from famous name including from Vernon Kay, Sacha Lord, and DJ Paulette.
He asked fans to “bear with me” and confirmed that he will not be performing DJ sets or appearing on the radio for the time being.
Now, a week after sharing the news of Oliver’s passing, Graeme, his wife Jen, and son Ben have taken the time to thank everyone for their “wonderful and valued support” – adding that the family is “heartbroken” to have lost a son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend.
“Your messages and kind words have been well received and have offered us all some much needed strength and hope at what has been a very difficult time,” Graeme continued.
“Friends, colleagues, fans, followers and complete strangers have all been in touch in person, via phone, email and social media offering support and more, and it really has been heartwarming to read all the messages and to listen to everyone who’s called.
“Apologies if I’ve not responded to everyone, but rest assured we all really do appreciate the sentiment.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Graeme also confirmed that, after lots of discussion following so many reaching out and asking if there’s anything they can do to help, the family has decided to set up a JustGiving page in Oliver’s memory to help raise “much needed funds and awareness” for Sarcoma UK.
Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer, and campaigns for better treatments.
“After complaining of leg pain over a long period, Oliver was eventually diagnosed as having a malignant nerve sheath tumour that was a type of sarcoma, hence our decision to help Sarcoma UK,” Graeme explained.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue. It is difficult to diagnose and one of the hardest to treat – “but by donating in memory of Oliver, you can help change this.”
“Your donation will help researchers find answers, keep the specialist Support Line open, and raise awareness to improve treatment and standards of care,” Graeme concluded, “Your donations go so far in helping the sarcoma community.”
Over 200 people have already donated to the JustGiving fundraiser, with the total now at £6,900 and counting by the minute.