Increasing the contactless limit to HUF 15,000 serves to slow down the epidemic as it reduces the need for customers using bank cards to come into physical contact with PIN terminals.
According to preliminary estimates, almost 90 percent of all transactions could be carried out without customers’ hands coming into contact with the POS terminal.
The Hungarian government is continuously monitoring the economic situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic, is carefully considering proposals, is consulting with market players and is taking the necessary measures. Increasing significantly the percentage of cash-free transactions and minimizing physical contact during payment are also part of the fight against the virus.
The amendment of the legislation gives banks and card companies a short period of time for preparation. The new limit will enter into force from April 15, 2020.
Regardless of the situation caused by the epidemic, financial security is also a priority, and the general security rule that, at times, cardholders are required to type in their PIN numbers even upon contactless purchases will remain in effect. This is to ensure that stolen cards cannot be used indefinitely without restriction. Therefore, after five contactless purchases, from the sixth transaction onward the POS terminal will ask for the PIN number regardless of the limit, or if the value of purchases made without the use of a PIN number has reached the equivalent of EUR 150.
Payment with smart phones or smart watches could be a good solution for hygienic reasons, in the interest of the containment of the epidemic as in the case of such devices the system does not at all ask for a PIN number, and there is no need to physically come into contact with the terminal.
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