Covid-19: Relief amongst Birmingham retailers as the financial limit on contactless payments increases

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Retailers in Birmingham have praised the decision taken by UK Finance to increase the limit of contactless spending.

The threshold was raised by £15 to £45 last Wednesday as part of the financial services industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and retailers feel relieved during this time of crisis.

The pandemic has brought a complete halt to the daily life of British citizens with 55,242 cases and 6,159 deaths in the UK as of Tuesday. The global tally of confirmed cases had reached 1.4 million cases with 83,000 deaths according to the statistics shown by Johns Hopkins University.

Patryk Kazmierski (Credit: Feron Jayawardene)

Patryk Kazmierski, aged 20, manages a Jet Fuel station in Bloxwich. He told Birmingham Eastside the increase would reduce the time customers spend inside the shop and would make the buying process faster.

“The risk of the virus spreading by touching the surfaces can also be avoided when the customers use contactless instead of the traditional chip and pin method. This also will minimise the risk of our cashiers contracting the virus because of the less time spent on the till area,” he said.

The public has turned to Twitter to comment on the increased spending limit.

UK finance, the organisation responsible for the increase said that the decision was taken following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past few weeks.  

Customers are asked to follow the government guidelines and be 2 metres apart inside the store. (Photo Credit – Feron Jayawardene)

Ravinka Seresinhe, another independent retailer at Lichfield and a father of 2 children, said it’s a commendable measure taken by the authorities to help both the customers and the retailers.

“An average fuel transaction would cost between 30 to 40 pounds, which means the majority of the customers would now be able to use contactless payments. This greatly decreases the time customers spend inside the shop which makes us (shop staff) safer given the circumstances.”

However, the World Health Organization had said that there was no scientific evidence which shows the virus being transmitted through cash.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care on Monday after contracting symptoms of COVID-19. However, a spokesperson said that the condition of Johnson was stable overnight.

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