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COVID-19: Contactless payment limit increased to $200

The governance body overseeing payments in New Zealand has today announced that the limit on contactless payment transactions has been raised from $80 to $200.

PaymentsNZ says the change will be progressively rolled out ‘over the coming days', but may take weeks in some cases due to the number of cards, payment terminals and businesses involved.

The change is geared towards the need for contactless payments for transactions like a weekly supermarket shop, which may cost several hundred dollars for families.

In raising the limit, New Zealand joins other countries around the world including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom that are adopting measures to help restrict the spread of COVID-19.

The measure is being supported by the major card carrier companies, including Visa Mastercard, American Express and Union Pay.

The change also applies to mobile payment methods, such as Apple, Google, Garmin and FitBit pay, without making any changes to card details or account.

Mastercard country manager for New Zealand Ruth Riviere says the measure is necessary as increasingly dire consequences play out across the world due to the coronavirus.

“In the current, ever-changing climate, it's crucial that Mastercard provides all its cardholders with freedom, choice and peace of mind in the way they pay for their purchases,” says Riviere.

“Contactless payments can offer a simple, safe and hygienic way to pay, and Mastercard is working rapidly with its industry partners to guide and support them through this effort.

Most New Zealand banks are also onboard, however ASB and TSB have revealed that ‘technology restraints' mean they are not able to implement the changes for their existing cardholders.

The banks say that the contactless payment limit increase to $200 will be implemented on all new cards issued to customers after today, however.

ASB customers with mobile payment capabilities like Apple and Google pay will be able to take advantage of the limit increase.

PaymentNZ says cardholders should apply the same caution to using contactless payment as they would before the limit increase.

“If you have any concerns about unauthorised transactions on your account, please contact [your bank or card provider],” PaymentsNZ says in a statement.

“We advise all customers to treat their contactless cards like they would cash and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.

PaymentNZ says the $200 limit on contactless payments has been enacted as a direct result of the health crisis posed by the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand, and will ‘remain in place for as long as necessary in consideration of the pandemic.'

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