Paypass your way through London’s buskers

Gone are the days of emptying out your pockets for loose change when watching a worthy performer on the street with buskers now adapting to the cashless economy.

Contactless payment is becoming the norm even making its way to transactions that are historically cash only.

London city is ensuring street performers aren’t left behind by introducing a new cardless payment scheme.

Onlookers may use their card to pay a set amount chosen by the performer with a tap of their card with buskers being provided with card readers that have chip and pin facilities implemented by Busk in London.

Perth musician and busker Malachy O’Connor said the shift towards cashless payments is as inescapable for street performers as it is for any industry.

He is skeptical of the card readers being supplied by the London City Council.

“I don’t like that the council is providing the card readers, I’d prefer to source it myself, there may be some kind of contractual agreement that comes attached to those card readers,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The transfer to a card system is inevitable, not just for street performers but everyone else as well, so it’s definitely something individuals can explore.”

Busking his way around the world, Mr O’Connor has played music in cities with a range of different busking policies, and is interested to see how it would work with inserting cards and using pins.

“In theory, tapping and charging a set amount would work well,” Mr O’Connor said.

“What really works against it is the likes of a card reader where people have to insert their card and type their pin in, which is uncomfortable and I would understand people feeling apprehensive about doing that.”

Despite the scheme put in place to help buskers raise more money, Mr O’Connor said the system may make things more complicated for what he calls quite ‘lazy people’, including himself.

“A lot of the characters who play music in the street, they live a transient lifestyle and they’re not business people, so once you turn all that money electronic, it’s no longer this mysterious entity,” Mr O’Connor said.

“[In terms of] taxes and visas for travelling buskers, it poses kinds of risks which can be a bit of a can of worms.”


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