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Apple Pay transaction limit increased to 30 pounds in UK

As promised when Apple Pay launched in the UK earlier this year, iPhone and Watch owners can now make touchless payments of up to 30 pounds without entering in a PIN number or signature.

The UK Cards Association, a national credit card payments industry group, raised the upper limit for contactless payments to 30 pounds on Tuesday local time, a change that also affects smartphone-based systems like Apple Pay. Previously, Apple Pay users were constrained to the UK's contactless payment transaction limit of 20 pounds.

According to the trade association the higher limit comes in recognition of wide contactless card adoption and use, as well as an extremely low rate of fraud. Consumers using touch-to-pay technology spent more during the first six months of the year than in all of 2014, the group said. Specifically, The UK Cards Association saw transaction volume from touchless cards and devices jump from 287 million pounds in January to 567 million pounds in June, equating to a six-month total of 2.5 billion pounds.

"The pace of growth we are seeing in contactless is getting ever faster as we rely less and less on cash. Consumers enjoy the speed and convenience of tapping to pay," said Mark Barnett, President of MasterCard UK & Ireland. "We expect this upward trend to persist with consumers continuing to migrate to contactless card payments and increasingly to mobile payments, as we work with partners such as Apple to enable more convenient ways to pay."

The higher cap now covers the average 25-pound supermarket transaction, as well as common tabs at bars, movie theaters, gift shops and more. As of this writing, point of sale terminals across the UK are being updated to accept the new limit, with nationwide coverage expected in the coming weeks. Apple's official support document has not yet been updated to reflect the change.

Apple introduced Apple Pay to UK shoppers in July with initial support from more than 250,000 stores and eight regional banks.