The payment limit for contactless transactions has been increased from £15 to £20.

This is the second time the contactless transaction limit has been increased. It was first raised from £10 to £15 in 2010. According to the UK Cards Association, over 17.7 billion consumer cash payments per year are for amounts under £20. The Association also estimates that there are 23 million contactless cards in the UK.

“Low-value transactions have been gradually moving from cash to card,” said Association chair Melanie Johnson. “Contactless cards attract the same level of protection as traditional plastic cards and certainly provide much more convenience and protection than traditional payment methods such as cash or cheque.”

This follows Europe’s largest ever rollout of the service through the UK Post Office network. All 11,500 branches will receive HSBC merchant services contactless payment terminals, with the project expected to be completed by the end of 2012. “Contactless payments are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and we expect to see the technology being introduced to more businesses and sectors in 2012,” said HSBC Merchant Services managing director Chris Davies.

Londis retailer Sunder Sandher has seen an increase in contactless payments made in his Warwickshire and Oxford stores. “We have it in both of our stores and it’s quite popular with students,” he said. “It’s definitely being embraced by our younger customers.”