In a bid by retailers to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), tap and go payment limits will be temporarily increased from $100 to $200 from next week.

The Australian Payments Network (APN) confirmed today that the payment industry will be increasing the limit for contactless card payments to reduce the need for physical contact with the EFTPOS machine.

"From next week, consumers will begin to see an increasing number of retailers accepting contactless card payments without a PIN up to the new $200 limit," the APN said in a statement.

"Given the sheer numbers of cards, payment terminals and organisations involved, the new limit will be progressively introduced across certain cards and at certain retailers, with major supermarkets expected to be among the first."

The new limit of $200 is expected to apply for a three-month period and will be extended if needed.

It follows similar measures being implemented in other countries around the world in response to the virus. 

APN CEO Andy White said the move was necessary given the circumstances.

“The increased limit is a pragmatic and important response to a changing environment. Consumers are tending to buy more, less often," he said. 

"The new $200 contactless limit will mean fewer consumers need to touch the payment terminal."

The Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume, welcomed the move

“I thank APN, financial institutions, card schemes and retailers for being responsive and stepping up in these extraordinary times”, Assistant Minister Hume said.

“Raising the contactless limit is a sensible and practical measure to slow the spread of coronavirus. It will help Australians stay safe and confident when shopping for essentials” she added.

The payment limit will also apply to shoppers using digital wallets on their smartphones or smartwatches.