The legal limit on contactless payments is to more than double to £100, the chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce in his budget later.
Ministers hope the move, designed to make transactions easier, will provide a shot in the arm to the struggling retail industry.
But many in the sector, one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown, are calling on Mr Sunak to unveil a long-term package of support when he stands up at 12.30pm.
Non-essential retailers still have to wait weeks before they are officially allowed to re-open under the government’s plans to get the country back to normal by mid-June.
Mr Sunak is understood to have told the cabinet this morning that his budget will be about building the UK’s future economy.
He also told cabinet colleagues that the UK could be optimistic about the economic recovery.
Mr Sunak has previously warned the UK faces an economic emergency in the wake of the battle against the global pandemic.
At the moment the current legal single payment limit is £45.
But that will rise to £100 from today, although it may take a while longer for shoppers to notice the difference on the High Street.
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 across the UK.”
The popularity of contactless payments is rising, with eight out of ten adults thought to have used the system at least once in 2019.
Ministers say the change has been made possible in part by the UK’s exit from the European Union, which currently has a £45 limit.
The rise was recommended by the watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority.