Contactless payment may be made compulsory by 2020

By 2020 it is predicted every retailer may have to offer tap-and-go payments that could pave the way for the disappearance of the £5 “minimum spend” on cards in corner shops and pubs. This will mean all shops will have to install “contactless” terminals to continue taking card payments. Contactless payment is becoming increasingly popular, with more than £2bn spent using the system last year.

Under the requirements imposed by Visa and Mastercard shoppers must be given the option to pay for small purchases up to £30 by waving a debit or credit card over the card reader, many bars and newsagents enforce a minimum spend – usually around £5 – if customers want to pay by debit or credit card. This is to cover the cost of the service, but the ease of contactless payments means that retailers are charged significantly less for transactions involving touch-and-go cards which may prompt many shopkeepers to get rid of the minimum spend requirement.

In September this year the maximum contactless daily spend has risen from £20 to £30.

Richard Koch, from the UK Cards Association, says: ‘with more customers carrying contactless cards and more shops taking contactless payments, it was felt increasing the limit to £30 would benefit shoppers and retailers.

‘The average supermarket shop is £25, and increasing the limit from £20 to £30 will give customers more opportunities to use contactless cards to pay for their everyday purchases.’

Despite fears over the safety of using contactless, data from the UK Cards Association claims contactless is one of the safest forms of card payments. Last year, the total annual contactless fraud loss was £153,000 compared with total spending of £2.32billion.