Belgian banks increase limit for contactless payments

09 Apr 2020

Belgium flag Banks in Belgium have opted to increase the limit for contactless payments and payments not requiring a PIN code, as part of efforts to combat the rapidly spreading coronavirus. 

Febelfin, the official Belgian federation of the financial sector, made the announcement on Monday.

The transaction limit for contactless cards and payments without a PIN code in Belgium will be raised from €25 to €50 per transaction. Therefore, consumers will only require a pin entry when paying for bills which exceed the €50 mark. This aim is to reduce the need for fingerprints and physical touch in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. 

With regards to repeated contactless payments without a PIN code, the cumulative limit will be raised to €100. 

“From 14 April, the payment terminals currently in operation – under the current containment measures – will be gradually adapted to the new limits,” Febelfin states in a press release.

Cashless, digital and if possible, contactless payments have been introduced as a means of fighting the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The coronavirus is boosting cashless payments, as fears of the pandemic being spread through notes and coins has led several businesses and services to accept only contactless payments. 

As a result, a global cashless society is seeming more and more like the inevitable future, as the number of tap-and-go payments and digital transactions increase swiftly. 

Cash has already been on the decline for a while now, with several countries phasing out the use of banknotes and coins. 

In 2016, Australia floated the idea of removing the $100 note from being circulated. A recent plan also saw the ban of cash transactions over A$10,000, in order to minimize black market activity and negative implications on citizens.

China’s central bank also looked into introducing a full digital currency system, including a digital token that will supposedly be interchangeable with the current Yuan currency.

In the United States, the House of Democrats offered a $2.5 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill last week. If passed, this bill would establish a digital currency in the U.S.

Other central banks in nations including South Korea, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Switzerland, as well as the European Union have also been exploring the benefits of introducing CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies).