Paywave limits will increase to $200 to reduce physical contact with PIN pads during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously only transactions of $80 or less were able to be completed without a PIN using a contactless card.

After a pilot, Payments NZ will progressively roll out the new higher contactless payment limit at terminals from this morning. It will take a few weeks to be nationwide.

“We’ve had overwhelming support and commitment from the industry to get this done, and in some way to help reduce the spread of Covid-19,” chief executive Steve Wiggins said.

He said they opted for a decent increase to catch a good chunk of purchases, in line with recent changes in Australia and Canada.

“We felt that was a limit that enabled people to have a bigger shop and make sure we were getting a fair percentage of those that wouldn’t have to touch the keypad,” Wiggins said.

“All [customers] will need to do is follow the usual prompts on the PIN pad when paying. If the limit has become active on that terminal, it will kick in automatically.”

The increase to the limit was temporary, but no end date had been decided, Wiggins said.

“I think it’s important that we see where the country goes with the lockdown. We’ll come back in a wee while and decide if it’s appropriate to leave the limit where it is, or should we look to reduce that to the previous limit or somewhere in between.”

Wiggins said people must be especially vigilant with their cards, and treat them like cash. Lost or stolen cards should be reported to the user’s bank and card provider immediately.

“That’s one thing the industry will be monitoring very closely… It’s something that we’re really conscious of.”

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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