Supermarket groups Coles and Woolworths are reportedly planning to raise tap-and-go limits to $200 in an effort to increase contactless payment across their stores. PINs will not be required for these transactions.
The new limit will come into effect in Woolworths on Tuesday April 7, 2020 – prior to this the limit on tap-and-go payments has been $100. It’s currently unclear when the changes will hit Coles.
In addition to bank cards, the new limits will also apply to customers with digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
These changes will enable better hygiene and perhaps also encourage people to get more of what they need in one trip and therefor cut down on time outside their homes.
“We’ve been encouraging customers to use tap and go facilities wherever possible for a number of weeks now,” said a Woolworths’ spokesperson in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“By working with financial institutions to raise the tap and go limit, we’re able to offer a contactless payment method for even more shopping trips.”
Gizmodo Australia has also reached out to Coles for comment.
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But it won’t just be Coles and Woolworths that will receive a raised limit. According to the Australian Payments Network (APN), more retailers will see the new PIN-free $200 limit from next week.
“The new $200 limit is expected to apply for a three-month period and will be extended if required. Similar increases have been implemented or are under consideration in other countries around the world in response to COVID-19,” said the APN in a press release.
While this is a step in the right direction in regards to hygiene, and allowing people to go to the shops less, we’re hoping to see this higher limit rolled out to smaller businesses as well. The APN was not specific in regards to who will receive these new limits, simply saying “certain retailers” and that major supermarkets would be among the first.
The APN also said that it would be across “certain cards” so it is probably worth checking with your financial institution to see if your card is eligible.
Large supermarkets such as Coles and Woolies enjoy lower transaction fees already compared to your local butcher or grocer. This is why a lot of smaller businesses still run cash-only operations or require a minimum spend to use a card. That’s certainly the case for where I live.
Raising contactless payment limits to $200 will help to encourage more people to shop with the big boys – which might not be great news for struggling small businesses.
Hopefully banks will do the right thing here and lower transaction costs for all ‘essential’ businesses that can still get patrons under the government’s new Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020.
In addition to that, it would be encouraging to see $200 contactless spend be rolled out more widely to further spread good hygiene practice and to aid smaller businesses.
This story has been updated to include comment from Woolworths and a confirmation date for the new limit.