The drive to digitize payments in the UK is modernizing income for London’s famous street performers.
Thanks to a new development backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, buskers — aka street performers and musicians — in the British capital will be able to solicit tips from credit cards as well as the traditional cash and coins method.
The initiative uses Swedish payment firm iZettle — which U.S. giant PayPal recently agreed to buy for $2.2 billion — to provide buskers with card readers that passers-by and commuters can use to make donations. A recent trial will be expanded to cover all of London’s registered buskers over the coming months, according to a report from the BBC. One busker, Charlotte Campbell, who took part in the test phase said the addition of contactless payments “had a significant impact on contributions” she received.
“More people than ever tap-to-donate whilst I sing, and often, when one person does, another follows,” Campbell added.
The deal is perhaps the most visible piece of business from iZettle, which has quietly made a mark in helping UK payments go digital.
iZettle will be PayPal’s largest acquisition to date. The company has operations in 12 markets, which include northern Europe and Mexico in Latin America. Its business is particularly strong in the UK where it has been successful in building out a point of sale business through card-reading dongles that link up with a smartphone or tablet. Like Square in the U.S., these dongles allow smaller businesses that are priced out of traditional point-of-sale solutions for taking cards to go beyond cash without a lot of hassle.
From that base, iZettle has expanded into other financial services for small businesses, which include inventory management loans and more.