Someone using their card to pay contactless on a card machine.

What’s the contactless payment limit?

author: Dan Griffiths

By Dan Griffiths


Contactless technology now means you can cut down your time at the checkout to a matter of seconds.

While chip and PIN doesn’t exactly take out a large chunk of time from your day, those precious seconds saved mean you can get out and on your way much faster.

But, in order to limit the risk of someone going on a spending spree with your card, you’re only ever able to spend up to £100 with contactless.

So it’s perfect for those little transactions we make every day.

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Protection from fraud

Essentially, the main reason for this limit is to lessen the damage someone can make if your card falls into the wrong hands.

Because you don’t need a code to authorise a payment, someone could, in theory, use your card to tap onto a contactless reader and go on a shopping spree.

By having a £100 limit, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do too much damage to your bank balance.

And, if you make quite a few contactless purchases in one day, the reader might ask you to input your PIN to make sure it’s definitely you spending.

This helps to protect you from losing even more cash if your card is stolen.

Remember, if you do suspect your card is stolen, or if it’s just missing, get in touch with your card provider and ask them to cancel it. They’ll be happy to send you a new one, and it means no one can spend on your card in the meantime.

Some card providers might be happy to refund you contactless purchases if they agree it’s fallen into the wrong hands.

The Ocean credit card has contactless technology, and you could find out whether you’ll be accepted before you apply with our QuickCheck tool.

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Using your smartphone to pay?

That’s how things work for credit and debit cards, but what about Apple and Google Pay?

Things work a little differently if you’re paying contactless with your smartphone.

If you’re using Apple Pay, there is no spending limit when you pay using FaceID. This is the same with Google Pay. However, some retailers may not allow you to use either payment system on purchases over £100, so be sure to have your physical card on you. 

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Keep a watchful eye on your statement

When you tap your card to pay, it may take a few days before the purchase appears on your bank statement.

This is because the purchases you make are under £100, so they’re treated a little differently to larger buys.

Be sure to keep a mental note of what you’re spending with contactless, as you might not see it on your statement for a couple of days. It’s wise to keep track of what you’re spending anyway, but it’s especially important here so that you don’t spend more than you can afford.

For information on where you can pay contactless, head to our blog here

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

Someone using their card to pay contactless on a card machine. Someone using their card to pay contactless on a card machine.