Banks aiming to increase contactless payments limit 'by April 1'

Banks aiming to increase contactless payments limit 'by April 1'

Banks, retailers and tech companies are working to ensure the contactless payment limit on cards is raised to €50 at stores nationwide by April 1.

The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland said the rollout is already well underway and it in place at some shops.

The federation is confident all Irish stores will have the new limit in place by the start of next month.

The federation says that consumers made more than 1.5 million contactless payments a day during the fourth quarter of last year.

The number of contactless credit and debit card payments grew by 26% year-on-year, with nearly 141 million payments valued at more than €1.7bn.

In volume terms, an estimated 41% of all credit and debit card payments were contactless in the fourth quater - while 11% of the value of card payments were contactless.

In recent weeks, the demand for cash has dropped by 20%.

This is a combination of reduced overall spending, but also a consumer choice to use cards instead of cash.

The BPFI said we are also likely to see "some impact" from retail outlets closing temporarily, and greater demand for online shopping and home delivery.

BPFI head of payment schemes Gill Murphy said: "The rollout is well underway and BPFI is working in collaboration with all the various parties involved, to make sure the new limit is available across all retail outlets by 1 April.

"We are working together to make it happen as a matter of urgent priority in order to facilitate consumers’ ability to make some payments without the need for physical contact.

"Due to the many technicalities involved there is no central method by which this can be delivered, but rather it is case of all parties working together to ensure consumers can avail of the new limit of €50.

"We are confident that it will be complete by April 1st."

The move was part of recent recommendations from the Government and Health Service Executive (HSE).

It comes as Ulster Bank announced it is temporarily closing 10 non-cash branches, eight of which are in Dublin.

Two Cork locations, Wilton and Winthrop Street complete the list.

The bank is also ceasing Saturday opening in 29 locations.

The bank will still prioritise vulnerable customers in branches until 11am every morning.

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