Mastercard says the spread of Covid-19 highlights the imperative for “contact-free” environments and experiences and is lobbying governments across Asia to ensure consumers have sufficiently high limits for contactless payments.
Having the right transaction limit helps people stock up on more essential items on each trip to public places without having to touch potentially infectious surfaces, key in a PIN, handle cash or use a pen to process their payments. It is also important for merchants and consumers to know that signatures are no longer required for card payments, which further reduces contact points and speeds up purchases, the company says.
Consumers simply need to look for the contactless symbol on the front or back of their cards to see if they can tap when they are checking out with their purchases. For mobile devices, any change in limits has no impact on transactions or personal safety as a fingerprint, facial scan or PIN keyed into the device itself is still required and contact points are confined to the cardholder’s device.
“Face-to-face transactions still need to happen, even in times as unusual as now. Making them as fast and contactless as possible is one way to help people to be more socially responsible, support local businesses and protect everyone in the community when they need it the most,” said Sandeep Malhotra, executive vice president for products and innovation, Asia Pacific.
As of February 2020, contactless payments made up approximately 50% of Mastercard’s global card-present purchases, excluding the United States.
Transaction limits vary across the region as each market has the autonomy to set its own limits based on what is right for the domestic environment and for cardholders.
Some markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan already have high limits. Australia and New Zealand have raised their limits, effective April 9, and the Philippines will increase its limit on July 17.