Shoppers can make contactless card payments with a new higher limit of up to £45 per transaction.

The contactless card payment limit in shops has increased by £15, from £30 previously, as part of measures to combat coronavirus.

The new £45 limit is three times the amount it was in 2010.

Trade association UK Finance, which represents the finance and payments industry, said the decision to raise the limit was made following talks with the retail sector. It follows similar increases recently made elsewhere in Europe.

An increased limit was already being considered but the process has been accelerated as part of the industry’s response to Covid-19.

It will mean more payments can be made without the need to handle cash and it will also reduce the number of occasions when people need to input their Pin on a machine when making payments.

With hundreds of thousands of terminals in the UK, UK Finance said the updating process would happen gradually.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said while the new contactless limit was now operational at some stores across the UK, it may be some time before it can be applied more widely.

BRC head of payments policy Andrew Cregan said: “Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under.”

Some £80.5 billion was spent using contactless payments in 2019, UK Finance figures show, up by 16% on the previous year.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “Raising the contactless card limit will be helpful for those shoppers and retailers who may want to handle less cash during the coronavirus crisis, but it’s also vital that vulnerable consumers do not end up without a way to pay for essential products and services.

“Both the Government and retailers need to find a way to ensure that the millions of people who rely on cash, and may not have a bank card, can still pay for the basics they need during this difficult time.”