Mastercard is urging its merchant partners in Canada to raise their caps on contactless payments to $250.
In announcing the effort, Mastercard framed it as one focused on public health, under the rationale that contactless payments help to facilitate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also may be viewed as an effort to further encourage the use of tap-to-pay credit cards in a country in which compatible payment terminals are widespread.
While financial authorities in some other countries have set limits to the amount of money that can be spent in any one contactless transaction, in Canada there are no such laws. Merchants, however, tend to cap such payments at CDN $100.
“Mastercard is proud to have played a leadership role in driving the adoption of contactless payments in Canada and we know that Canadians have embraced it as a preferred way to pay,” commented Mastercard Canada President Sasha Krstic. “With safety and social distancing top of mind for all Canadians, today’s announcement is one way we’re helping cardholders to shop easily, securely and with more peace of mind during this difficult time.”
The move may help to encourage the use of other contactless payment options in the country as well, including mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, which let users add virtual versions of physical credit cards to their mobile wallet platforms.
Mastercard has also made at least one more substantial gesture to help fight the spread of COVID-19, having previously announced a joint commitment of $125 million with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust for the patient identification and treatment efforts.