The black cab only accepting payment by mobile cellphone

As the cashless society gathers pace, Harry Wallop meets a cab driver who only accepts ‘Pingit’ Photo: Jane Mingay/The Agencies

“Life is so rapidly moving, I’ve acquired to move with the occasions,” says Ian Cable. These are odd phrases to hear coming out of the mouth of a London black cab driver, a group not recognized for embracing technological developments.

Only final month, many cabbies took to the streets to protest at the threat becoming posed by Uber, the support that permits smartphone consumers to hail minicabs employing their phones. At the time numerous critics claimed cabbies were residing in the dark ages.

Even so, Mr Cable, 44, is established to provide consumers the most technologically sophisticated form of payment. So, for this week only he says he will not accept income nor cards – alternatively he will attempt to permit buyer to spend only using their mobile phones.

Getting to end at a roadside ATM right after a buyer discovers their wallet is empty are over, he guarantees. This he says will not only benefit consumer but him also — permitting him to steer clear of £60 fines for stopping illegally and waiting.

His experiment comes just a week right after Transport for London banned buses from accepting money, forcing clients to use a contactless Oyster card or a contactless debit card, and with more and much more nearby authorities switching their parking metres from accepting coins.

The rise and rise of a cashless society seems unstoppable.

But are the new techniques of payment any far more practical than coins and notes?

I became Mr Cable’s fourth passenger in order to locate out. It was a mixed achievement.

He has adopted Barclays’s Pingit, but most folks with a British financial institution account can shell out for their cab fares by this new method, as lengthy as their financial institution is component of the Paym network. Paym is the mobile cellphone payment program adopted by nine of the greatest banks, which launched in April 2014.

The concept is that you can pay for your fare by sending a easy text to the cab driver’s telephone, without needing to hand above bank account specifics.

In order to use Pingit or any of the Paym systems, you very first have to download the relevant app on to your cellphone and then ensure your phone amount is linked to your financial institution account. For me, this was a cumbersome procedure, with more than 10 various pages of particulars I needed to fill in, numerous ranges of security, and 3 separate verification codes sent to my telephone. And if you do not currently have your financial institution account set up on your phone it becomes even far more challenging, as I located out.

In effect, you are setting up an fully separate account, into which you pay a lump sum. You then use that separate account to pay out the taxi driver, or window cleaner, or any of the tens of 1000’s of little tradesmen and companies to sign up with Pingit.

For little organizations, the benefits are clear. They do not want to install a credit card machine. If they presently consider cards, they do not need to shell out the ten per cent managing costs that card firms invariably make merchants shell out. They also do not have to take care of money.

Mr Cable says: “To me 23 years driving a taxi, there have been some run-ins when I’ve felt vulnerable with getting money in my cab. Cashless to me is an absolute constructive, I also really don’t have passengers getting to cease at a financial institution.”

Even so, even though the positive aspects are clear to tradesmen, they are not so black and white for customers.

Once I had finally set up the app, paying out Cable was extremely simple – it was a basic matter of scanning a QR code (quick read code – quite comparable to a bar code) on my telephone, confirming the payment and pressing send. The payment was confirmed inside seconds.

But though the payment was almost certainly as rapid as getting a note out of a wallet, handing it over and waiting for alter, I am not convinced that it is any much more practical.

And many specialists are nervous that millions of consumers, specially elderly ones, are becoming left behind by the slow move in the direction of a cashless society.

David Sinclair, at the International Longevity Centre, said there have been several advantages to elderly buyers in not using cash – not least the safety of not obtaining to carry cash. But he extra: “Many of the mobile cellphone payment methods are a nightmare to use. And 1 has to inquire no matter whether obtaining 1 app for your bank, one app for your taxi business, one particular app for your mobile payments is worth it. At times, a jar with some coins in is just simpler for some men and women.”

Mervyn Kohler, at Age Uk, says: “There is portion of the elderly population who are happy to embrace these new technologies, who just try to get on with it, and discover them hassle-free. But there is a significant section, possibly the vast majority, who uncover them confusing, difficult and who just wish the digital globe would go away.

“We need to have to ensure we have ample assistance services in society, to hold the hand and facilitate access to services like this.”

Banks deny that they are slowly making an attempt to phase out notes and coins, in the same way they attempted to kill off cheques. Nonetheless, two many years ago the Canadian government axed the 1 cent piece, arguing it fees 1.6 cents to create each a single cent coin. Numerous companies complain that their revenue are hit by banks’ handling fees for income. The average value of handling money for a Uk small enterprise has reached far more than £17.eight billion a year, or £3,638.57 per retailer, in accordance to investigation by one particular of the mobile payment techniques, Sage Spend.

In accordance to the Payments Council, funds payments make up the majority – just – of all transactions in the United kingdom, accounting for 52 per cent. This is down from 58 per cent in 2009.

Darren Foulds, director of Barclays mobile and Pingit at Barclays, said that he did not feel setting up the app was tough, in spite of my complaints. He mentioned: “It is crucial for us that we have a safe approach for registering. We recognise there are a number of measures to go via, but it means you have the confidence that we are secure.”

He added that rival — and far less complicated — techniques of mobile phone payments, such as taking a image of your debit card, with the phone which it then scans, nevertheless incur a card handling fee. This is the approach adopted by Paypal, for instance.

Following one particular day of the experiment, Mr Cable has run into a Transport for London roadblock. Despite the government agency banning income on buses, it has mentioned Mr Cable can’t refuse to consider a passenger if they shell out by cash. So, however he is going to motivate individuals to shell out by Pingit, he can not end them taking out their wallets, rather than their phones.

For now, money is king. And Pingit will have to wait a whilst longer prior to it will take in excess of.