One month on from the introduction of the new £45/€50 contactless limit in the UK and Ireland, Barclaycard, which handles half of all contactless transactions in the UK, has processed more than seven million contactless payments above the previous limit of £30/€30.

The higher limit was introduced ahead of schedule on April 1 to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 by allowing more shoppers to pay without touching card terminals or handling cash.

Contactless transactions also help reduce the volume of people in stores by reducing queue times as they are, on average, seven seconds faster than Chip and PIN, and 15 seconds faster than cash.

Barclaycard data also revealed that 43% of in-store transactions between £30/€30 and £45/€50 are now made using contactless. This is expected to increase as public awareness of the new limit grows, and as more businesses implement the technology change on their card machines.

Deployment of the new limit is being prioritised for retailers in key sectors, including petrol service stations, grocery and supermarket stores, bakeries and pharmacies.

The new limit has led the average value of contactless transactions to jump from £9.28 in 2019, to just under £14 today. The average value of all new contactless transactions above the previous limit of £30 is just under £36. The total amount spent using contactless on transactions over £30 is already over £264m.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “We want to play our part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so we are delighted to have reached seven million transactions so quickly.

“We would like to thank our clients both large and small for working with us to make the required changes, and for promoting the new limits to consumers. This rapid adoption would not have been possible without them.

“We believe that contactless is the safest, fastest and most responsible way to pay in store, and we encourage all consumers to take advantage of the new higher limit where possible.”