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written by
Jack ONeill

Street performers and the Church are taking card payments - why aren't you?

Card Payment Church of England

The use of card payment terminals and contactless payments are quickly becoming the British norm and the wave of businesses embracing them now includes street performers and the Church of England.

It should come as no surprise that cash is falling out of favour with consumers across the UK, but the true statistics might raise an eyebrow. Back in June, UK Finance figures revealed that, for the first time ever, there were more debit card than cash transactions in Britain over the last year.

Almost two thirds of Britons now use contactless payments, compared to just under a third back in 2014. Among millennials, that figure rises to 51%. However, while many businesses still see contactless and card machines as another cost to avoid, there are those who are starting to realise their benefits.

No change? No problem

The 2018 Fringe Festival takes place throughout August and having consulted with street performers after last year’s event, one common concern was that fewer people carried cash, reducing the amount of tips received. Over 80 performers have already signed up to using the portable units as a method of payment as the festival trials cashless payments for the first time.

The terminals let performers set a minimum donation amount as well as enabling audiences without loose change to ‘tap and tip’.  It’s so far been adopted by stage performers and street buskers alike -amongst them Noel Byrne, a seasoned street performer and Fringe regular known for his comedy acrobatics.

Even mainstays like the church collection plate are becoming a thing of the past. The Church of England says that nearly 16,000 religious sites now have access to portable card readers. The contactless card reader can be passed around the pews like the traditional offerings plate while mobile phones have also given contactless even more traction.

Small businesses missing out on millions

Financial services company Square, Inc has suggested that small companies could be missing out on millions of pounds’ worth of business by not offering card payment facilities.

Six in ten of the shoppers it surveyed said they would spend more at small businesses in their area if they were able to pay by card, while more than a quarter have decided not to buy something because the seller didn’t accept cards.

Their survey also worryingly identified that 44 percent of small business owners think they don’t miss out on sales if they don’t accept cards. Yet there are those who are moving with the times.

Healthy food chain ‘Tossed’ has a number of entirely cashless stores in London - and the decision appears to have paid off, with the chain seeing turnover increase by 13.6% to over £10 million in the past year.

Last year, acclaimed restauranteur Alan Yau (the mind behind ‘Wagamamas’) opened a new restaurant in London Marylebone ‘Yamabahce’, which will also only accept cards.

Even smaller independent stores are beginning to follow suit. In south-east London, independent café ‘Browns of Brockley’, stopped taking cash earlier this year, with its owner inspired by cashless businesses in Sweden. The owner told The Times being cashless saved valuable staffing hours as workers no longer had to count takings at the end of a day nor had to make the journey to the bank each week.

Reducing risk

Small businesses still not taking card payments could find themselves cut off from the majority of customer transactions. The introduction of contactless payments into your business can open up new opportunities and reduce the amount of failed transactions.

As with all card payments, there is an added level of protection involved with contactless. Contactless systems both increase security and reduce risk by creating an audit trail as well as reducing the amount of cash on the property.

All small businesses should now take card and, at XLN Pay, we have a range of options to suit your business type; from countertop to portable to mobile. We offer small business-exclusive deals on card machines and portable payments, and our price promise means we’ll beat whatever price you’re paying now. Head to https://www.xln.co.uk/pay to find out more.

Image credit: FT montage (https://www.ft.com/content/2e803942-5817-11e7-9fed-c19e2700005f)

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