Spending limit on contactless payment cards set to double
PTSB among main banks to upgrade
The spending limit on contactless cards will be increased to €30 from €15 in October with Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB preparing to roll out the function on debit cards.
Contactless cards allow people to shop with debit and credit cards without requiring them to enter a PIN number when at a till. Users simply swipe their card over a machine.
Permanent TSB confirmed it is preparing to offer contactless facilities on debit cards. Ulster Bank would not comment, but a senior industry source said it was doing so.
Visa Europe, confirming the limit increase to €30, said it "reflects the growth in popularity of contactless transactions in Ireland and the rest of Europe, following a 130pc rise in usage over the past year.
"The new payment limit will open up a new range of opportunities to use the technology.
"For example, the new €30 limit will make it possible to pay for an item of clothing or small basket of shopping in a supermarket."
Critics say the cards raise the risk of banking fraud, as anyone who steals or finds a lost card can use it to pay for goods.
Spending limits per transaction attempt to mitigate this risk.
KBC, AIB and Bank of Ireland are the only Irish lenders to provide the technology on debit cards at present.
They added the contactless feature on new Visa Debit cards rolled out to customers following the demise of Laser cards last February.
Ulster and Permanent TSB's move will make the payment option available to a wider audience.
Take up in Ireland has been slow thus far in comparison to other European countries like France and the UK.
Reluctance by retailers is also to blame. Many do not accept contactless cards as a form of payment.
Approximately 80pc of all contactless card payments take place through just 10 merchants, including McDonald's, Boots and Subway. Other retailers who accept the technology include Marks and Spencer, Arnotts, Insomnia, O'Briens sandwiches, Mace and Centra.
More are adding the service. Dunnes and Tesco are thought to be rolling contactless machines out in stores.
The National Transport Authority is also planning for contactless cards to be used in place of Leap cards, which give users access to discounted fares on trams, buses and trains, an industry source said. The National Transport Authority would not confirm this.
This is already happening in the UK, where London Tube travellers can use their contactless debit or credit card instead of an Oyster card and enjoy the same savings on ticket prices.
Wider adoption of contactless cards could, however, lead in charges for their use.
Bank of Ireland and AIB had been planning to introduce charges of 15c per contactless transaction last year, but decided to delay because so few retailers were accepting the cards.
Contactless payment has wider applications beyond credit and debit cards too.
Experts say the function will soon move to phones, meaning users will be able to pay for goods by swiping their phone over a payments machine with the amount deducted directly from their bank account.
Sunday Indo Business