Credit card companies Mastercard and Visa are raising the tap limit on all credit cards to $250 from $100 as retailers seek more cashless payment options during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Contactless payments allow consumers to tap a debit or credit card on a point of sale machine without having to enter a PIN code or provide a signature.

Mastercard publicly announced the increase on Thursday as government officials recommend physical distancing during the pandemic and a growing number of merchants and consumers are switching to safer ways to pay for purchases that do not require touching PIN pads. Visa confirmed to The Globe it is also increasing its limits. Visa has not yet announced when its increase will become effective but confirmed it is currently working with industry partners.

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“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,” Sasha Krstic, president of Mastercard Canada, said in a statement Thursday.

While Mastercard has made the limit increase effective immediately, individual partners such as issuing banks and payment companies, including Moneris Solutions, must also adopt the change, the company said.

“Timing may vary based on individual partner adoption,” said Mastercard spokeswoman Sandra Benjamin.

Last month a surge of retailers and businesses began to no longer accept cash at the checkout in an effort to limit employees’ potential exposure to COVID-19. Shortly after, the Bank of Canada issued a release “strongly” urging retailers to stop refusing cash payments to ensure all Canadians – especially seniors and low-income households – have access to purchases they need.

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