Blackpool beach trotted into the twenty first century today as a troupe of donkeys – one of the beach’s most famous attractions, alongside the Tower – went cashless and contactless for the first time.
Parents will no longer have to let their kids down with a lack of small change to pay for rides as thanks to Barclaycard, Dillon the donkey has been given the world’s first contactless payment saddle. The innovation means that parents can touch a contactless credit or debit card (from any bank that offers the technology) to pay for a ride down the Blackpool Sands.
Mark Ineson, owner of Real Donkeys, who has given donkey rides on Blackpool’s beach for nearly 20 years, has worked with Barclaycard to give Dillon a technology make-over.
With UK consumers expected to spend £2bn using contactless this year as the nation embraces “touch-and-go” payments, Barclaycard – which has a strong history in payment innovation – has been investigating ways to help some of the UK’s traditional cash businesses embrace contactless payment systems.
Ineson said: “Over the years I’ve had to turn hundreds of kids away because mums and dads don’t have the cash on them to pay for a ride on Dillon – and the beach is often the last place you want to be carrying lots of change.
“So I approached Barclaycard to see whether they could help solve the problem.
“The saddle they’ve come up with means hundreds more people will be able to experience one of the Great British seaside traditions and have a donkey ride along the sands. It also shows that, regardless of how traditional your business might be, there are always new things to trial that can give it a much-needed boost.”
Barclaycard technologists collaborated with designers Seymourpowell (who have created everything from the world’s first cordless kettle to concepts for the interiors of Virgin Galactic spacecraft) to build Dillon’s new tack, ensuring the technology was seamlessly integrated and the saddle a comfortable fit.
The saddle will be added to a hall of fame of “firsts” from Barclaycard, which has a history of providing innovative payment solutions for consumers and businesses. As well as introducing the first contactless card to the UK in 2007, Barclaycard has issued over a million PayTags – a mini, stick-on credit card – and earlier this summer it launched the bPay band – a contactless wristband that can be linked to any UK bank account.
Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclaycard, said: “More and more of us are relying on card payments, and contactless payment – where you touch your card to pay – has come a long way since Barclaycard introduced it to the UK in 2007. Soon, we’ll be able to use contactless to get through the day – paying for travel, coffees, lunches, evening drinks, even for supermarket top-up shopping.
“If we can bring contactless technology to millions of travellers across major UK cities on buses, tubes and trams, we thought that one of the world’s most ancient forms of human transport could do with a similar make-over. That’s why we leapt at the chance to help Dillon and his owner Mark get more from his business and bring smiles to more kids this bank holiday. Now all we have to do is hope the British summer plays along.
“Assuming that Dillon’s pioneering approach in going cashless is a success, we could see the roll out of more Contactless Donkeys everywhere next summer. In fact, we’re constantly building on the market leading innovations we have delivered, and we have exciting projects in the pipeline which are set to shape the future of payments.”
Dillon’s make-over couldn’t have come at a better time as, according to industry research, the value of transactions made using contactless cards exceeded £150m for the first time in June and Barclaycard predicts that UK consumers will spend £2bn through contactless this year as they increasingly choose it over cash.*
There are now 45m contactless cards in circulation in the UK and a quarter of all plastic of new cards are contactless-enabled – which means that customers can simply touch their cards on contactless-enabled terminals to make faster secure payments.
Dillon is joining over 300,000 points across the country where consumers can make contactless payments.