9 Apr 2020

Paywave limits go up to reduce PIN pad contact during Covid-19 pandemic

11:36 am on 9 April 2020

Paywave limits will increase to $200 to reduce physical contact with PIN pads during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mobile payment PayPass. Contactless card payment.

The increase to the limit is temporary, but no end date has been decided. Photo: 123RF

Previously only transactions of $80 or less were able to be completed without a PIN using a contactless card.

However, ASB and TSB customers will not benefit (unless they get new cards) as those banks "hardwired" the $80 limit into their cards, Newsroom reported.

After a pilot, Payments NZ will progressively roll out the new higher contactless payment limit at terminals from this morning. It will take a few weeks to be nationwide.

"We've had overwhelming support and commitment from the industry to get this done, and in some way to help reduce the spread of Covid-19," chief executive Steve Wiggins said.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

He said they opted for a decent increase to catch a good chunk of purchases, in line with recent changes in Australia and Canada.

"We felt that was a limit that enabled people to have a bigger shop and make sure we were getting a fair percentage of those that wouldn't have to touch the keypad," Wiggins said.

"All [customers] will need to do is follow the usual prompts on the PIN pad when paying. If the limit has become active on that terminal, it will kick in automatically."

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

The increase to the limit was temporary, but no end date had been decided, Wiggins said.

"I think it's important that we see where the country goes with the lockdown. We'll come back in a wee while and decide if it's appropriate to leave the limit where it is, or should we look to reduce that to the previous limit or somewhere in between."

Wiggins said people must be especially vigilant with their cards, and treat them like cash. Lost or stolen cards should be reported to the user's bank and card provider immediately.

"That's one thing the industry will be monitoring very closely... It's something that we're really conscious of."

Payments NZ also have no ability to help all the dairies still with their "no paywave" stickers on eftpos machines out of fear of bank charges. Banks have moved to wipe fees attached to contactless debit cards during the Covid-19 pandemic. ANZ, BNZ, ASB and Kiwibank removed paywave fees on debit card payments until the end of June; Westpac went further and waived fees for six months, Newsroom reported.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus: