London Launches The World's First Cashless Payment For Street Performers


In a collaboration with Busk In London and the Swedish payments firm iZettle, London's mayor Sadiq Khan, has brought the world's first cashless payment using card readers for street performers.

As a start, a selected few performers were testing the iZettle’s contactless readers on the streets for the few prior weeks. And after seeing it work as intended, Khan releases the scheme across London’s 32 boroughs.

iZettle’s contactless readers allow tap-to-donate fixed payments from cards, smartphones, and smart watches. But in order for the readers to work, they have to be connected to a smartphone or a tablet. This way, in addition to just tossing a loose change into a box, passers-by can also make contactless payment for a fixed price previously set by the performers.

Charlotte Campbell, a full-time street performer in London, has been trialing the project. "I believe if street performers like myself don't adapt to the cashless society we are edging towards, we're at risk of becoming a dying art."

A woman pays Charlotte Campbell a £2 fixed price using contactless payment

Sadiq Khan said that:

"London is a powerhouse of music, having produced artists from Adele to Stormzy, and The xx to Dua Lipa. 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."

Card readers for online payments are becoming increasingly popular among small traders and charities, as many of them couldn't afford the infrastructure traditionally needed for credit card payments.

But although street performers can adapt to this change, people don't think that homeless people can benefit from the cause. Experts say that if physical coins and notes disappear from city streets, there will be another barrier that keeps those in needs out of society.

London's method of giving contactless payment to street performers, is seen as a followup to China's contactless payment. But instead of using card readers, street performers in China use QR codes to solicit mobile tips.