PIN-less payments limit goes up as coronavirus countermeasure

The Polish Banks Association (ZBP) decided to raise the threshold of contactless and PIN-less card payments to PLN 100 (EUR 21.85) to minimise the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2.

Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz, the head of the ZBP, told the Polish Press Agency that the move would limit the physical contact of a payer with a payment terminal. It would also shorten the time needed to conclude payments and the time spent at shops and other venues, he said.

“It is estimated that raising the threshold of contactless and PIN-less operations will see about 83 percent of payments done this way,” said Mr Pietraszkiewicz, adding that the ZBP had asked owners of payment terminals to increase the number of these devices in their shops, bazaars and the like.

“We are capable of installing 40,000-50,000 payment terminals in a matter of a quarter. We encourage all entrepreneurs and payment recipients to convert to this mode of settlement to maintain safety precautions during the epidemic,” said the ZBP head, adding that pertinent devices would be delivered to those who decided to follow the organisation’s suggestion.

The process of increasing the PIN-less payment threshold will be concluded in a time span varying from a couple of days to months.

“In some banks and payment systems, the raising of the payment limit is taking place as we speak and will be put in operation in a matter of days. Elsewhere it will take a couple of weeks or months. I think it would take no more than two months,” Mr Pietraszkiewicz said.

The ZBP head said that raising the threshold required agreements both at the domestic and international level as “elevating the threshold of contactless payments requires main payment systems and banks to introduce changes.”

Mr Pietraszkiewicz also admitted that raising the threshold of PIN-less payments to PLN 100 (EUR 21.85) entailed a particular risk in transaction safety. “Regardless of the fact, we decided that the scope of potential losses and other issues will be by far lesser than health benefits resulting from the use of contactless payment cards.”