A sweet holiday-themed news item comes our way from overseas, and not only is it too good not to share, but it may be a harbinger of things to come: Cards, and contactless and e-payments will increasingly be taken in places where no one ever expected the words “chip-and-sig” or “swipe” to be uttered.
“No change?,” asks the headline on London-based CityMetric’s webpage. “This app lets you pay buskers by card!”
For those needing a brush-up on “buskers,” they tend to be street musicians who play for coins, pounds, Euros, dollars, etc., in the stations and stairwells of transport systems and subways. L.A., being late to the “grown up city with actual mass transit” game is still catching up in this regard, since, previously, it was perilous to sprint down the freeway on foot, frantically strumming a guitar.
Nonetheless, for those sauntering through the alleyways and “mewses” of London, “the Busking Project has just launched BuSK, an app that lets you pay buskers on the street with your phone. BuSK’s minimum payment is £5 (about $7.00 or so, U.S.) which may be more than some want to pay; but it could help plug the gap left by the move away from CDs, which used to be an easy way for street performers to make money on the street while promoting and spreading their work. The project emphasizes that many performers rely on busking for income, and are a group worth supporting.”
Its creators say that they hope to encourage local authorities to “treat buskers like artists instead of criminals”, by promoting the “economic and social benefits of busking”. The app also includes a map showing where local performers, from clowns to musicians, are located; you can choose which types of performance you’re interested in when you sign up.”
In other words, there’s are Yelp-and-Uber like aspects to it; find the types of busking that interested you, in the neighborhood you’re already in.
More to the point though, if buskers are taking mobile payments out on the streets now, are you sure your own business is up to snuff on all the various on and off-line, mobile, and other payment options customers now expect as routine?
On that very subject, and also from the UK, the FreshBusinessThinking site reports that during the holiday season some of the “smallest retailers could be missing out on crucial Christmas trading if they’re not able to offer card or contactless payments, according to new research from EE…The study showed that four in five (80%) of shoppers in the UK expect to be able to pay for goods using their credit or debit cards, but 25% – the equivalent of 13 million people – have been forced to abandon purchases due to a lack of card facilities.”
One can extrapolate proportionate numbers to the U.S., and as the article continues, “research indicates that retailers who can’t process card payments are letting one of the heaviest spending periods of the year pass them by.”
“Don’t pass me by,” you might sing, if you were a busker. You might also sing that — along with various holiday tunes — if you’re a merchant looking to update. Keep your New Year’s resolutions early and give AVPS a call for any upgrades.
And we will see you in a week, after the last of the Hanukkah candles has cooled, and a few more squares on the Advent Calendar have popped open.