The contactless payment limit in shops is increasing to £45 from today as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, while rises to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage also come into force today. 

Shoppers can now make contactless card payments of up to £45 per transaction, a substantial increase from the previous £30 limit, which has been in place since 2015. 

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), said: “The new increased payment limit will mean that more payments can be made without the need for customers of colleagues to handle cash or touch keypads, as customers will only have to input their PIN number on purchases over £45. 

“We have developed a poster that retailers can use in store to communicate the new contactless payment limit to customers and to remind them of social distancing measures.”

Separately, the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are also increasing today, following recommendations made to the Government by the Low Pay Commission (LPC). 

From today the new rates are as follows: The National Living Wage for ages 25 and above goes up 6.2% to £8.72. The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds is up 6.5% to £8.20, whereas for 18 to 20 year olds it is up 4.6% to £4.55 and for under 18s, up 4.6% to £4.55. And in addition, for apprentices the rate rises by 6.4% to £4.15. 

Lowman at the ACS said: “Increases in the National Minimum and Living Wage rate have a significant impact on retailers every year, so during this unprecedented uncertainty, it is important that the Low Pay Commission gives serious consideration of an “emergency brake” to revise its wage projections to 2024. We will continue to work with the Low Pay Commission to outline the pressures that retailers face when dealing with increased employment costs.”

ACS provided evidence to the Low Pay Commission about the impact that increases to the National Living Wage has had on convenience retailers and their response including reducing the number of paid working hours in their business and independent retailers having to take on more house in the business themselves.