With the outbreak of coronavirus, it is important to minimise direct contact with other people and avoid public areas. Therefore, banks are currently preparing to raise the contactless payment limit to 50 euros starting Monday, 23 March. The limit will be valid until the end of the emergency situation declared by the government. People who can link their bank cards to their mobile devices can also use the contactless function on their phones for payments over 50 euros.

‘Although the risks of the virus spreading are low for electronic payment instruments when compared to cash, the problem is the PIN pads of card payment systems, which are one of the most used surfaces in stores. This makes them a source of potential human-to-human transmission,’ said Katrin Talihärm, Head of the Estonian Banking Association.

At the end of last year, 32% of card payments made in Estonia were contactless and contactless payment was possible with 87% of the payment terminals used in Estonia. 77% of the bank cards issued in Estonia have the contactless function. While 85% of card payments remain in today’s limit of 25 euros, the 50-euro limit allows approximately 95% of card payments to be made contactless. Considering that it is responsible to go to stores in the emergency situation as rarely as possible, the cost of the average shopping cart is also likely to have increased.

People can still set a limit on the amount of contactless payments on their bank card. You still need to enter your PIN occasionally when you exceed a certain number of transactions or total payments. There may be differences because the conditions for using card-based payment limits and contactless mobile apps vary from bank to bank.