Spending limits on contactless cards are to rise to GBP100 from GBP45 on 15 October as the use of cash for transactions continues to decline.
The limit was raised from GBP30 at the start of the pandemic but with two-thirds of debit card transactions now made with contactless cards and increasing numbers of outlets refusing to take cash, the government said the time was right to raise it again.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “Increasing the contactless limit will make it easier than ever to pay safely and securely.
“As people get back to the High Street, millions of payments will be made simpler, providing a welcome boost for retailers and shoppers.”
Banks said it would also allow cars to be refuelled and weekly shops to be paid for by tapping on the card reader, though updating terminals for the new limit meant the change would not be immediate.
The worry is that crime will increase with the higher limit as it means lost or stolen cards immediately have become more valuable.
Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, said: “While the move brings more convenience for some it also carries two big warnings.
“First, it is a thief’s dream, as they can take far more of your money in each transaction if your card is lost or stolen. By spending GBP100 at a pop without having to put in a PIN, it would be very easy for thieves to blitz through money quickly before you even spotted the card had been nicked.
“Second, there is a risk for those who are in debt getting further into debt. The easier a card transaction is the less the consumer is actively thinking about how much they are spending, meaning it’s easier to rack up larger bills on a credit card.
“People should be able to set their own card limits if they want to, either to scupper thieves or for their own financial management.”