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Mastercard champions effort to raise contactless payment limits

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Mastercard clip art
Mastercard clip art

Mastercard has announced it is championing a move to increase the contactless payment limits across Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as people look for safer ways to pay in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The initiative is in line with similar actions taking place around the world as health officials recommend social distancing and a growing number of merchants are encouraging consumers to pay with contactless over cash to avoid contact.

Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless for over 15 years globally. In LAC, the company has worked with the transit, retail and fast service industries to expand the use of contactless payment technology in an effort to enhance security, convenience and speed in the payment experience for ­cardholders. These efforts have resulted in an exponential growth of the use and acceptance of contactless payments across the region. Today, 75 per cent of point-of-sale terminals are ready to accept contactless transactions in LAC, while in 2019 contactless-enabled cards grew fivefold versus 2018.


Now, Mastercard is working with industry partners to enable a raise in the contactless payment limit to US$50. This would allow cardholders to make higher value payments versus limiting them to a predefined low-value ­payment limit. For example, consumers today might be limited to purchasing only US$25 worth of household goods with their ­contactless cards without the need to enter their personal identification number or PIN into the keypad. Once the limit is raised to the Mastercard ­recommended US$50, they can purchase more of what they need with the security, speed and touch-free experience expected from contactless payments.

“Mastercard has been leading the expansion of contactless payments in LAC for a number of years now. The initiative to raise contactless limits comes at a time when cardholders need it the most to stay safe and adhere to social-distancing requirements,” said Walter Pimenta, senior vice president, products & innovation, Mastercard Latin America and Caribbean. “Today’s announcement reinforces our consumer-centric approach – providing consumers with freedom of choice in how they pay and peace of mind when they pay. We are working rapidly with our industry partners to guide and support them through this effort.”

Cardholders should look for the contactless symbol on the front or back of their credit or debit cards to determine whether they have a contactless-enabled card or can add their debit or credit card to their mobile wallets on their contactless-enabled devices to tap and pay where contactless payments are accepted.

Mastercard’s effort to raise CVM limits is one of many efforts the company is leading to do its part for its employees, customers and ­cardholders. Most recently, the company announced a partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to accelerate the development and access to treatment for COVID-19. Together, the ­companies committed up to $125 million in funding to speed up the identification, assessment, development, and scaling of treatments. In addition, Mastercard employees around the world have engaged in its employee donations match ­programme to help ­communities around the world.