Estonian banks on Monday raised the limit on contactless payments to €50 in an effort to minimize contact so as to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, and so far, 75 percent of terminals have been updated in the central systems.
Katrin Taliharm, managing director of the Estonian Banking Association, told BNS: "The new limit has been set at the central systems' level, but requires the updating of parameters in card payment terminals as well. As of noon today [Tuesday], approximately 75 percent of active payment terminals have accessed the central systems to load the new parameters and enforced the new limit. Work on enforcing the new limit across the entire terminal fleet is underway."
The new limit takes effect from Monday, March 23 until the emergency situation declared by the government comes to an end. Those who are able to link their bank card to Apple Pay or Google Pay, will be able to also pay for purchases exceeding the €50 limit, the Banking Association said.
Contactless payments represented 32 percent of all card payments made in Estonia, and they were supported by 87 percent of payment terminals. Altogether 77 percent of bank cards issued in Estonia include the contactless payment option.
Around 85 percent of payments are made within the current limit of €25. When the limit is increased to €50, it should allow for 95 percent of card payments to be carried out without contact. Considering that in the current emergency situation, one is advised to go shopping as seldom as possible, the average cost of a shopping basket has likely increased.
People can still set a contactless payment limit on their bank card. People still need to enter their PIN occasionally when they exceed a certain number of transactions or total sum of payments. Here, there may be differences from bank to bank because the conditions for using card-based payment limits and contactless mobile apps vary from bank to bank.
Editor: Helen Wright