Mastercard increases European contactless transaction limits

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Mastercard is part of an expanding trend toward easing restrictions to entice consumers to choose contactless payments over cash and plastic during the coronavirus.

The card company almost doubled contactless transaction limits across 29 different European countries.

The move raises the contactless card transaction limit for each individual transaction before the customer is required to entire a PIN on a terminal device, with limits in most cases increasing from about $22-$27 to about $57.

"We have all now seen how quickly people have embraced contactless payments as their preferred way to pay every day. Today’s announcement is designed to reflect the pace of changing behaviors of the people we all serve giving them ease, speed and peace of mind in a fast changing world,” said Milan Gauder, executive vice president of product and innovation, Europe at Mastercard in a press release.

In the U.K. Mastercard has raised the contactless transaction limit from £30 (about $36) to £45 (about $53) following a similar move made by market leader Barclaycard earlier in the week. Dutch banks have also boosted limits on contactless payments.

The moves in the U.K. Ireland, Estonia and Poland are permanent while other countries such as Netherlands and Greece are being implemented as a temporary measurement during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the largest increases are in countries such as Hungary where the limit is being tripled, Kazakhstan where it will quadrupled and in Belarus where it will be quintupled.

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