will the contactless payment limit be increased?

Set up in 2020, in the first months of the pandemic, the 50 euro ceiling accompanied the boom in contactless payment by bank card. The next step could be to increase this ceiling to 80 euros.

It’s a short sentence, hidden in a press release from SumUp dated January 19, 2023 and dedicated to the growing success of the contactless bank card: (…) the passage of the ceiling from 30 to 50 euros by the French Banking Federation in May 2020 , soon to be raised to 80 euros, has helped to strengthen the attractiveness and adoption of this method of payment by consumers, writes the specialist in mobile payment terminals.

Will the contactless payment ceiling soon be raised to 80 euros? Asked about this point, SumUp did not wish to say more. As the deadline for this change is not yet known precisely, I suggest you discuss it later, explained the French communication of the brand.

80euros after 50euros? That seems to be the point of the story. Over the last decade, the ceiling, originally 20 euros, was raised to 30 euros in 2017 and then 50 euros in 2020, in the first months of the Covid pandemic. An event that accelerated the adoption of contactless.

Faced with the risk of infection, contactless has been promoted as a barrier gesture. Long reluctant, due to ultimately unfounded fears about its security, the French ended up getting started: in 2021, the latest figures from the Banque de France available, it represented 57% of card payments in stores. And, according to figures from the BPCE banking group (1)its use has further increased by 23% in 2022.

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A questionable interest for the user

However, would this development make sense for users? Nicolas Miart, consulting director at Galitt, in doubt. The 50euro pass was a success, as it enabled contactless payment to cover the average basket of a card payment [41euros en 2022, selon BPCE, NDLR]. I don’t think a new raise would have the same effect.

Worse, he could degrade the payer’s experience. You must also take into account the fact that there is a cumulative limit of 150 euros, before a systematic request for a contact transaction. The unit limit of 80 euros would reduce the number of possible payments without a code by the same amount, continues Nicolas Miart.

Finally, the interest would be all the more limited as one of the frictions experienced by users when contactless is impossible or refused will soon disappear. The ongoing deployment of a new generation of payment terminals known as PIN Online makes it possible to no longer inserting the card in the terminalregardless of the amount paid.

Bank card: you will soon be able to pay without contact beyond 50 euros

Not immediately possible

Anyway, if the contactless ceiling were to pass 80 euros, it would not be for now. The limit of 50 euros for a contactless unit payment without authentication of the payer is enshrined in European regulations, recalls Nicolas Miart. A change of limit involves a new European regulation and, upstream, a recommendation from the European Banking Authority. What the French Banking Federation confirms: The ceiling of 50 euros is fixed by the regulations. To date, there is no evidence that this ceiling has been raised.

In fact, the evolution of contactless payment limits is one of the topics that should be addressed by the 3rd revision of the Payment Services Directive (PSD3). The future text, however, is still in the preparatory stage. The preliminary draft could be published during the first half of 2023. But the road will be long before its implementation: probably not before 2026.

80 francs in Switzerland, 100 pounds in Great Britain

Several countries have implemented contactless payment limits without authentication above the 50 euros of the European Union. This is the case of Great Britain, which took advantage of Brexit to raise its limit to 100 pounds sterling (about 112 euros), but also of Switzerland (80 Swiss francs, or about 80 euros) or the United States (100 dollars , or approximately 92 euros).

(1) Source: 1st BPCE Digital & Payments Barometer, published on February 1, 2023.

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