Tesco has said it will not be increasing the contactless limit for card or phone payments in its stores from €30 to €50.

The banking and payments industry is working to introduce the higher limit at retail outlets across the country from tomorrow in order to encourage the use of contactless card and phone payments in the place of cash and thereby help reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

However, Tesco said that while it had scoped the project thoroughly and looked at every possible way to introduce the change seamlessly, in order to do so, it would have to carry out a manual fix on over 4,600 terminals in 151 shops across the country.

The supermarket chain said to do this would present too high a risk to business continuity in already extremely busy stores.

"The risk associated with making such a large volume of software updates is very significant, including the potential for disruption to tills, pin pads and self-scan checkouts," it said.

Instead, the retailer is to leave antibacterial wipes beside payment terminals so that those wishing to make purchases with a total value of over €30 can wipe down the key pad before use.

It is understood the number of daily transactions in the €30-50 band is very low.

A spokesperson could not give a commitment at this stage that Tesco would introduce the higher limit at a later date but said the situation would be kept under review and apologised to customers for any inconvenience.

The chain has informed the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland of its decision.