Coronavirus pushes Coles, Woolworths to force CBA, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, to lift Tap and Go limit

The limit on contactless card transactions could more than double within a fortnight, as part of an offer from large retailers to protect customers from the spread of the coronavirus.

There are approximately one million EFTPOS tablets in stores across the country that are touched by thousands of hands every day, as customers enter their PIN for all purchases over $ 100.

That limit is set to rise to $ 250, part of a push by large supermarkets to make the average family weekly store much safer in the COVID-19 era.

Tap-and-go technology is currently only completely contactless if purchases remain below the $ 100 limit, as a fraud prevention measure.

It is the card issuer – the bank – that carries the additional risk of fraudulent purchases from a card.

If the limit were raised, it would increase the cost of that risk by 150 percent.

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An ANZ spokesperson said the bank supports the change.

“(But) there is still work to be done to ensure that any solution is universal and not confusing for customers,” he said.

“The industry as a whole has yet to reach a consensus position on how this will be achieved and what the temporary limit should be.”

Announcement soon

The National Australia Bank and the Commonwealth Bank declined to comment directly on the proposed changes, referring to at AusPayNet.

It is the body that coordinates cashless payments in Australia between banks and retailers to ensure consistent rules for all customers.

Buyers will no longer have to enter their PIN code for all purchases over $ 100. Image file Credit: Getty

AusPayNet CEO Andy White has confirmed that negotiations with the banks to lift the limit are in the final stages and an announcement could be expected as early as next week.

“The card payments community – including financial institutions, card schemes and large retailers – is actively considering allowing consumers to pay for more essential services without having to have physical contact with a payment terminal,” White told

“It is important, especially in today’s environment and in the processing of essential services, to ensure that any changes continue to provide a consistently safe and convenient experience and to maintain consumer confidence in payments.”

Flawless technology

White said the national implementation of the limit increase was approached with caution, as the technology had to be flawless.

In an economic environment that has seen hundreds of thousands of jobs cut in days, the last thing retailers want are technical glitches that could cause customers’ cards to fail at checkout, he said. .

EFTPOS machines are touched by hundreds of hands every day.  Image file.
EFTPOS machines are touched by hundreds of hands every day. Image file. Credit: Getty

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged people to use contactless technology instead of cash to the extent possible, as banknotes are considered a possible source of transmission of COVID-19.

The lifting of the limit is propelled by the newly formed Supermarket Task Force, made up of Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Metcash (which supplies IGA and Foodland stores).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Tuesday gave supermarkets unprecedented collaborative power to ensure reliable and fair access to groceries for as long as the coronavirus pandemic lasts.

Medical aid

This decision was supported Thursday by health experts.

“Anything that reduces the number of surfaces people touch and reduces the risk of transmission should be considered,” Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Keanseng Lim told .

Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease expert at Australian National University, said if the change could be managed reasonably effectively, it should be done.

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“But even going completely without contact, people have to remember that hand hygiene is the most important thing,” he said.

“Most businesses have hand sanitizer at the counter. Use it.”

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