Science and Tech

London launches first official contactless payment

Here’s a casualty of the cashless society you might not have previously thought of the humble street performer. After all, if more of us are paying our way with smartphones and contactless cards, how can we give spare change to musicians on the subway? London has one solution: a new scheme that outfits performers with contactless payment terminals.

Just last weekend the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in collaboration with Busk in London, and the Swedish payments firm iZettle. Performers were selected on the streets from past weeks to test the iZettle’s contactless readers. The Mayor assured that the program will be spread across the 32-boroughs in London.

Charlotte Campbell, a full-time street performer who was part of the trial, told BBC News that the new tech “had a significant impact on contributions.” Said, Campbell:

“More people than ever tap-to-donate whilst I sing, and often when one person does, another follows.”

The iZettle contactless readers need to be connected to a smartphone or tablets to accept payments from cards, smartphones, and smartwatches. They work with contactless cards, phones, and even smart watches.

Though the numbers of the devices that will be provided to London street performers are unknown or if the performers will have to pay for the device.

In countries like China, street performers, and beggars oftentimes setup personal payment system by using QR codes to solicit for mobile tips. While London becomes the first major city where such scheme is supported and led by the city officials.

“Busking helps emerging artists to hone their talent and gives them the chance to perform in front of huge numbers of people,” said Khan in a press statement. “I’m delighted that iZettle has chosen London to launch this innovative scheme – allowing artists to accept donations by card payment, as well as cash. Now, more Londoners will be able to show their support to the capital’s brilliant, talented street performers.”

However, the experts say that if coins and notes disappear from city streets it’ll be yet another barrier that keeps the destitute out of society.

Are we hoping for a London without coins and notes?

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