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Contactless in the pub

Using contactless in the pub?

As Barclaycard data showed at the end of last year, using contactless to pay in pubs is increasingly popular. In fact, contactless payments made with Barclaycard contactless cards in pubs and bars almost doubled between September and December.

The increase in the contactless spending limit from £20 to £30, put in place last September, appears to have helped encourage more pub-goers to pay with this convenient method when they are at the boozer. And, since the average card spend in a pub is £25.97, this makes a lot of sense. The use of contactless payment methods, including mobile wallets, has also increased in the UK.

And it’s not just consumers who find it convenient. Pub owners are also pleased to see the rise in popularity of contactless payments.

Mark Phinn, pub manager at the Kings Highway in Inverness, told us:

“Contactless is brilliant. The transaction time can be much faster than cash, and the costs to the business of contactless are much lower than a normal transaction. It’s well liked by customers who use it but there’s still nervousness with people who have it but don’t actually use it. There needs to be more encouragement for those people. Plus, less cash on site means less time on ‘cash up’, less human error, less change to buy in, and less cash to be robbed. It’s a win-win.”

The one down-side for Phinn is that staff don’t know or follow the rules around card payments, putting the customer’s security at risk. “I still see blatant breaches of PCI DSS [The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] in small business, namely staff taking cards from customers to make the payment. There needs to be more staff training aimed at small and medium business.”

How far does the average contactless spend go?

The average round may cost nearly £26 but, according to the UK Card Association, the average contactless transaction is £8.15 in the UK. So what does the average contactless transaction look like in the pub? Well, in London, where contactless is most prevalent (recent figures from Barclaycard show that London sees 41% of transactions under £20 made via this method) £8.15 won’t get you too far in the old battle cruiser – around 2 pints based on our calculations. What about the rest of the UK?

Infographic: Average Contactless spending in terms of pints

Further afield, in the Czech Republic, where the average price of a pint is just 72p, you could use that same £8.15 to get a round in for 11 people. In Sweden, the £5 price tag on the average pint means you might not bother with a round. Despite being fans of a cashless approach, Sweden hasn’t yet really adopted contactless payment.

A bar run like a bank?

In somewhat related news, challenger bank Tandem – set to launch this year – recently pranked Londoners by swapping bar staff with bank staff. In the stunt, barmen put customers ‘on hold’ and generally poked fun at the irritations customers might have with more traditional banks.

To see what banks are doing to improve the digital customer service experience, subscribe to our Insight Series and read our latest report, Customer Servicing on Digital Channels

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