The UK has raised the contactless payment limit to £45 as retailers look to mitigate the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

From April 1, consumers can spend up to £45 with just a tap of their card, up from the previous limit of £30.

The UK government has ordered all non-essential shops to close as the country enters a period of lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, however a range of businesses are permitted to stay open, including supermarkets and pharmacies.

“The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled-out from next week,” said Andrew Cregan, Head of Payments Policy at the British Retail Consortium. 

“Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain theyre under. In the meantime, most customers can continue to make contactless payments for higher amounts using their smart phone.”

The UK’s payment providers have pledged their support, especially to businesses currently operating at peak capacity who may need extra help rolling out the upgrade.

“Its more important than ever for merchants and their customers to be mindful of their collective health and safety,” said Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments. 

“We are proud to be taking a leadership position in the UK by commencing the deployment of a higher contactless threshold. By supporting the ability of customers to spend up to £45 via contactless, we are playing a part in helping UK consumers to pay safely and securely in these challenging times”.