I’ve just returned from a weekend in London and electronic payments were a surprising highlight!
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of amazing sights and payment terminals won’t feature on my holiday photo slideshow but having been in the industry all of my working life, it is the norm for me to be more aware than the average Joe about how payments are made. The difference this time was how noticeable it was, even the non-payment people commented.
Think about it…
The overriding theme was convenience. It was just so easy. As a tourist with a young family in tow there’s a lot to think about. I consider myself reasonably well travelled but still managed to leave not one but two bags on the wrong side of airport security (rookie mistake) resulting in lots of tutting and staring. Stress simply stops your brain working in a normal way (honestly, I’m not always so absent-minded). If you can make getting around the city as easy as London has, it’s a huge plus and one less thing to think about. This is clearly a well thought out system to manage the volumes of commuters and tourists efficiently throughout the city.
Tap and go
In terms of spending, yes, at times there was a ‘how much?!’ reaction but this was made all the easier by being able to tap and go. Many times, I literally didn’t know how much was involved and I tapped anyway! It was just that easy. And using my contactless card for every tube journey made moving around the city simple, even if I didn’t know exactly how much I was spending… Good job I trust Transport for London…
No cash required
From my UBER taxi from the airport and several thereafter (that’s a whole other subject worth its own article) to my numerous tube journeys, souvenir shopping trips and even food shopping in the weird and wonderful China Town, it was contactless all the way. Quick, easy and on to the next sight. The only time I absolutely had to have cold hard cash was for street vendors, street performers or to throw into fountains!
I saw real evidence of not just electronic payments, but specifically contactless payments signalling the end of cash. I see it as a real win/win – and when it’s easier to spend, you spend more. I can personally testify to that!