Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said the industry is aiming to increase the contactless payment limit from €30 to €50 by April 1.

BPFI said that several parties including banks, retailers and technology companies are working closely together on the rollout of the increased contactless payment limit. 

BPFI's head of payment schemes, Gill Murphy, said the roll out is well underway and BPFI is working in collaboration with all the various parties involved, to make sure the new limit is available across all retail outlets by April  1.  

She said the industry partners are working together to make it happen as a matter of urgent priority in order to facilitate consumers' ability to make some payments without the need for physical contact.  

"Due to the many technicalities involved there is no central method by which this can be delivered, but rather it is case of all parties working together to ensure consumers can avail of the new limit of €50. We are confident that it will be complete by April 1," Ms Murphy said.

In these challenging times, she also advised consumers and retailers to follow the HSE advise when using card terminals to pay for goods in-store where the use of a PIN may still be needed.

"And in addition, we would also remind consumers that in a time where we may all be shopping on-line more, we need to ensure we protect ourselves and think about our own personal security as we shop," BPFI added.

BFI said the demand for cash has reduced by about 20% due to a combination of reduced overall spending but also a consumer choice to use cards instead of cash. 

It noted that ahead of the current crisis, it was starting to see evidence of cash usage decreasing partly due to the growth in contactless payments.

Consumers made more than 1.5 million contactless payments a day in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The number of contactless credit and debit card payments grew by 26% year-on-year with nearly 141 million payments valued at more than €1.7 billion.