In the current context of the COVID-19 crisis, contactless payment has emerged in France and abroad as one of the barrier gestures likely to limit the risks of contamination during everyday purchases. Following the recommendation of the European Banking Authority (EBA) (read EBA statement here), the ceiling for contactless payment, previously set at EUR30, has been raised to EUR50 in France since 11 May 2020.

Ordinance No. 2020-534 of 7 May 2020 on various banking provisions, published in the Official Journal of the French Republic (JORF) on 8 May 2020, specifies the conditions under which such increase in the contactless payment ceiling is to be implemented (read the text here).

Until one month after the end of the state of health emergency, credit institutions and other payment service providers may, by way of derogation from IV of Articles L. 312-1-1 and L. 314-13 of the French Monetary and Financial Code, increase the ceiling for contactless payment by payment card.

This increase in the contactless payment ceiling shall be implemented at no cost for the payment service user, who must be informed by any means of communication before the end of the state of health emergency. Where this amendment to the custody account agreement or the framework agreement has not resulted in the customer being informed by providing a draft amendment in any durable medium, credit institutions and other payment service providers shall be required to do so before the expiry of a delay of one month from the date of cessation of the state of health emergency. However, the user may refuse this change and request, at any time and free of charge, the deactivation of the contactless payment functionality or the termination of the custody account agreement or the framework agreement.

Such decision was the result of close cooperation between the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and the French Economic Interest Group on Banking Cards (GIE Cartes Bancaires). This development contributes to the strengthening of health security related to the coronavirus.