The legal limit for contactless payments has officially risen to £100.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will give permission for the increase ahead of unveiling his latest Budget.

The change doubles the limit on payments with contactless cards and phones, but will not kick in immediately.

It is the second rise in the limit during the coronavirus crisis, and is only legally possible due to Brexit.

Mr Sunak said: “As we begin to open the UK economy and people return to the high street, the contactless limit increase will make it easier than ever before for people to pay for their shopping, providing a welcome boost to retail that will protect jobs and drive growth.”

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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street
Rishi Sunak is outlining his Budget to the Commons today

The limit went up from £30 to £45 last spring as contactless payments soared.

Customers were encouraged to avoid using cash and some businesses declined to take notes and coins amid virus spreading fears.

While legally in force from today, the changes to limits will not happen in practice immediately, Treasury advised.

Firms and the banking industry need time to make systems changes, and the £100 limit is expected to eventually go live later this year.

Contactless payments have grown in popularity in recent years.

Close up shot of a senior man making a contactless payment at a supermarket till
Contactless payments increased in popularity during lockdown
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What started as a way to pay for small items in shops as a hurry has expanded. 

Millions already use their phones and debit and credit cards to tap in and pay for public transport.

The rise in the legal limit from £45 to £100 is only allowed due to Brexit.

The European Union has a cap on contactless payments for member states.

Increases in the contactless spending limit will see customers able to splurge on bigger ticket purchases with a quick swipe or a thumb-print on their phone.

Shop owner receives wireless contactless payment from a customer wearing a face mask
The move is another shift away from cash transactions

The government has been under pressure to boost spending for struggling shops after nearly a year of shutdowns and major high street collapses.

Treasury said today the proportion of debit card payments using contactless has risen since during the pandemic, from four out if ten transactions  in 2019 to six out of 10 by last September.

But some banks are worried about the increase rewarding criminals too.

Sky News earlier reported claims some major lenders tried to lobby the government to delay the increase.

Some banks warned of fraud and urged the hike be staggered and the number of contactless transactions in one day be limited.