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Contactless Card Signature Limit Increase for COVID-19

With physical distancing and contactless payments being top of mind, card networks are increasing CVM (card verification method) limits for contactless card payments. To help combat COVID-19, Square is increasing the limit on contactless card transactions in step with these changes. These updates will be delivered through firmware updates, and apply to the Square Contactless and Chip Reader, Square Register, Square Terminal and Square Stand.

What’s happening?

Physical distancing and contactless payments are top of mind for consumers and sellers. Credit card networks including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and JCB have announced their support for raising contactless card payments up to $250 CAD across Canada.

What’s changing for Square sellers and when will these changes happen?

Square is increasing contactless credit card payment limits. Customers with credit cards issued by banks that have increased the contactless limit will be able to make contactless payments up to $250 CAD before being prompted to enter a PIN.

Contactless limit increases will be included as part of regular firmware updates, which are being rolled out across Square hardware. There’s no action sellers need to take to enable these new limits All hardware should be updated by April 27, 2020.

What types of payments does this apply to?

New limits apply to Visa, Mastercard, American Express and JCB branded credit cards where the bank issuer has also enabled this change. Interac (debit) contactless limits have not changed; for debit payments above $100 CAD, customers will still be prompted to insert their cards and enter their PIN.

Note: Mobile wallet payments (e.g. Apple Pay, Google Pay) will continue to support a contactless experience for any amount and do not require a signature or PIN.

What happens if I have a buyer who attempts to tap an amount between $100-$250 CAD, but they are prompted to insert their card and enter their PIN instead?

A couple things could make this possible:

  • The buyer could be trying to use a debit card

  • The buyer could have a credit card from a bank that has not raised the contactless limit to $250

  • The purchase could be occurring before firmware updates have been completely rolled out on 27th April 2020

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