London buskers swap spare change for contactless payment
Many major towns and cities have busking musicians belting out some tunes so that the gracious public can show their appreciation by throwing loose change into an open guitar case or weather-worn hat. London is no exception, but thanks to a new project launched by iZettle and Busk in London, folks will now be able to tap-to-pay using credit cards.
A wallet rattling with loose change or packed with bills has, for many, been replaced by one filled to bursting with credit and store cards. Sliding a small slab of plastic into a reader or waving it over the top is a quick and convenient way to pay for goods and services. But for street musicians who brighten our shopping day with tuneful classics or impressive originals, our increasingly cashless society is bad news.
But that's about to change in London with the launch of a contactless payment scheme from Swedish mobile payment firm iZettle and Busk in London, a street music support initiative launched by the Mayor of London in 2015.
"London is a powerhouse of music, having produced artists from Adele to Stormzy, and the XX to Dua Lipa," said Mayor Sadiq Khan. "For London to maintain its status as a global capital of music, it's vitally important that we support the stars of tomorrow. Busking helps emerging artists to hone their talent and gives them the chance to perform in front of huge numbers of people. 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."
Buskers taking part in the scheme are able to set up a fixed amount on an iZettle Reader contactless payment device thanks to the introduction of a new Repeat Payments feature. Rather than dig around for change, passers-by will be able to show their support with a simple tap of their cards. This also means that buskers won't need to carry heavy bags of coins around the streets of London at the end of a music-filled day. And it has the potential to increase takings.
"I've only trialed led Repeat Payments for two weeks and it has already had a significant impact on the contributions I've received," said full-time busker Charlotte Campbell. "More people than ever tap-to-donate whilst I sing, and often when one person does, another follows!"
The scheme was officially launched on Sunday, when former busker Passenger took to the stage of a packed Waterloo Station. As well as rolling out the contactless payment system to street performers in the city's 32 boroughs over the coming months, iZettle plans to make the Repeat Payments feature available to charity organisations, NGOs and small businesses.