Contactless has taken the UK by storm. We spent a massive £7.75 billion using the touch-and-go card technology in 2015, up from £2.32 billion in 2014!
More and more people are realising the convenience of making payments this way, but it’s understandable if you have a few questions about how it all works. Here we’ll explain how much you can spend on a contactless card and why you should keep track of your spending.
No matter whom you bank or hold a credit card with, the maximum you’ll be able to spend using contactless during one transaction is £30.
If you want to pay for something that costs more than this, you can still do this with a contactless card, but you’ll have to use chip and PIN instead.
Tapping your card on to the reader is a swift way of making relatively cheap purchases. There’s no restriction on how many different purchases you can make, but you may be asked for your PIN every once in a while to make sure it’s you that’s making the purchases.
Contactless works in a slightly different way if you’re using a smartphone paying service like Apple or Android Pay.
When using your smartphone to pay for things that are £30 and under, you generally use your fingerprint to authorise the purchase. You can still use the contactless reader for purchases over £30 with your smartphone, but you’ll have to input your mobile phone’s passcode to allow this kind of payment to take place.
When you pay for something using contactless, it doesn’t usually appear on your bank statement until a few days later – so keep this in mind if you check your account online.
This is because the spending limit is quite low, and retailers often treat small transactions a little differently to larger purchases. When you spend larger amounts, the retailer you’ve bought the goods from usually lets your bank or card provider know in advance so they can take the money from your balance straight away.
But when you pay for something with contactless, they may not give this heads up to your bank or card provider. That’s why the cash may only disappear from your online account a few days later.
It’s wise to keep track of everything you spend, but keep a special eye out for purchases you make via contactless. As you may not be able to see what you’ve spent on your online banking straight after you’ve been shopping, it’s important to keep receipts or a mental note so you don’t spend more than you can afford to.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.