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Businesses The Almighty Buck United Kingdom

London Launches World's First Contactless Payment Scheme For Street Performers (theverge.com) 162

An anonymous reader shares a report: Here's a casualty of the cashless society you might not have previously thought of: the humble street performer. After all, if more of us are paying our way with smartphones and contactless cards, how can we give spare change to musicians on the subway? London has one solution: a new scheme that outfits performers with contactless payment terminals. The project was launched this weekend by the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, and is a collaboration with Busk In London (a professional body for buskers) and the Swedish payments firm iZettle (which was bought this month by PayPal for $2.2 billion). A select few performers have been testing iZettle's contactless readers on the streets for the past few weeks, and Khan now says the scheme will be rolled out across London's 32 boroughs.
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London Launches World's First Contactless Payment Scheme For Street Performers

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  • Not the crusty jugglers. Who's next? Homeless people?
  • Let's hope... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday May 28, 2018 @10:40PM (#56690978) Journal
    ...that some enterprising busker does not put the reader at waist height in a crowded area and gain hundreds of "taps" from unsuspecting passersby.
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      I was thinking *almost* that. More like a dancer dancing among the crowd and waving her arm close to people's back pockets. Either way, same idea, different implementation.

      • by Nova77 ( 613150 )

        Apps connected to the card are extremely popular in London, and they immediately warn the user of an expense. If something like that were to happen you'd see a lot of unhappy bystanders!

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          That'll help if you get surreptitiously charged while standing and watching a street performer. But given a bit of latency, you'll never figure out who skimmed your card after you get bumped by a few hobos on the sidewalk.

    • Re:Let's hope... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@@@worf...net> on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @03:47AM (#56691734)

      ...that some enterprising busker does not put the reader at waist height in a crowded area and gain hundreds of "taps" from unsuspecting passersby.

      Which is why I have a NFC jammer in my pocket. It's just a little card that's powered by NFC and just jams the signal by responding. (Basically, in NFC, you send a clock and the card pulses to indicate a 1 or 0. The cards listen as well and if they detect a pulse they didn't send, it means a collision and the card will temporarily disable further responses until inquired again. The card that responds continue to do so unless it detects a collision from a third card. A card that successfully transmits disables itself for further inquiries while still powered).

      So this card continues to send pulses out which prevents all the other cards from responding. NFC readers don't even acknowledge something is happening - they just fail to read anything.

      Attempts to "tap" my wallet result in nothing being read.

    • The end result will be hundreds of errors on his screen typically that his tap didn't work (because despite what you may think the contactless payment system needs very close proximity held sustained for a second or two, ... in which case you'd be checking that he doesn't have your wallet in the first place,) and because you need to identify the single card, which means if you go up to a random person in the street and try it you'll just get an error, likely from their credit card, or their oyster card, or

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      ...that some enterprising busker does not put the reader at waist height in a crowded area and gain hundreds of "taps" from unsuspecting passersby.

      Yep,

      Headline says "London Launches World's First Contactless Payment Scheme For Street Performers" but what they really mean is "Thousands of Londoners are about to have their cards compromised". Glad I've disabled contactless on all of my cards (as in a hard disable, using a Stanley knife to cut the induction loop whilst keeping the chip intact)

  • Queue the taxman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ddtmm ( 549094 ) on Monday May 28, 2018 @10:43PM (#56690984)
    So their modest income is now trackable by the government, if not now, very soon. It’s only a matter of time until even the oldest profession in the world is monitored by governments for taxes due.
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      So their modest income is now trackable by the government

      I assume it is taxable now, too.

      matter of time until even the oldest profession in the world is monitored by governments for taxes due.

      I believe it is already taxed -- in countries where this profession is legal, anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by youngone ( 975102 )

      It’s only a matter of time until even the oldest profession in the world is monitored by governments for taxes due.

      In civilized countries it already is. Why wouldn't it be? Income is liable for income tax, no matter how it was gained.
      It is only hypocritical countries, dominated by religious nuts that continue to outlaw prostitutes.

    • Modest income? What about all those performers that will be making hundreds per day because people *really* like their act where the observer gets a prize in exchange for their generous support of the arts, at different levels like Quality Opus, or Grande. Or 8th Balcony, the perfect seat to take in 3.5 performances? The corner boys gotta adapt too after all...
    • by iTrawl ( 4142459 )

      Why shouldn't they pay tax on that money? In the UK the first £11,850 you make in this tax year is tax free. If they make a lot of money busking, good for them, but pay tax like everyone else.

      Those in the "oldest profession" can be self-employed (I'm still not sure what they write their business is about on the tax return form) and pay taxes and get social benefits like every other worker too. Individual prostitution is legal in the UK (kerb crawling, soliciting in the street, brothels aren't though).

    • So their modest income is now trackable by the government, if not now, very soon. It’s only a matter of time until even the oldest profession in the world is monitored by governments for taxes due.

      And why wouldn't it be? It's taxes. If their income is that modest well that's why the tax system is progressive including a personal allowance for income which is completely untaxed.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      So their modest income is now trackable by the government, if not now, very soon. It’s only a matter of time until even the oldest profession in the world is monitored by governments for taxes due.

      Erm... it already is.

      Prostitution is not illegal here in the UK. We don't have ancient puritan hangups that force it underground permitting pimps to hold girls in virtual slavery.

      The downside of this is that it's income that must be declared and taxed. Not sure about VAT (sales tax).

    • by eionmac ( 949755 )

      Most professional ladies [and 'men'] in sex industry in UK report income for tax purposes, and deduct expenses. Some even make it into the very high tax bracket. Some such as remote video work act as limited companies and also collect VAT (sales tax). The Register had a report on this some years ago. So taxperson collected taxes both personal, sales tax and company tax. Quite normal for HMRC (Her Majesties Revenue & Customs) to tax the oldest profession.

  • It feels weird saying this but street performers in China have had QR codes for both WeChat and Alipay for a while now. It's been around so long it isn't even an a novelty any more.
    • 100% digital cash is very useful for a dictatorship. Of course China is ahead.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I think that's a sign of a woefully broken society. People aren't meant to (not) interact like this. This isn't healthy.
    • Ah, but it is not controlled, and more importantly tracked, by the local government (well, it is China, I'm sure they have back door access, but hey).

      BTW, WeChat has spread a lot further than China, but not quite as commonly.

      It is hard to see how people are thick enough to think that 'cashless society' is an advantage to them.
      But people are always going out of their way to impress with their stupidity.

  • I have seen a street performer with a QR code panel for payments.
  • Looks like a great way to do contactless pickpocketing?

    • Not as easy as you think. Use your phone? Doesn't work when the screen is on. Have more than one bank card, or a bank card and an oyster card, or even your swipe card for your building, or a parking ticket, the transaction fails.

      Plus you need reasonably close contact sustained for a second or so meaning a quick brush against someone won't do it either.

  • Isn’t this the reason they exist?

  • I thought one of the advantages of a cashless society was the minimization of street solicitation via restriction of payment opportunities.

    • Solicitation by homeless and entertainment by street performers are two different things. Few people see the loss of the latter as an "advantage".

    • Having people starve is really an advantage -- but only if you're a Evangelical Prosperity Gospel idiot who thinks that the homeless are homeless because they're "bad" people.
      • nah. They're homeless because houses cost too much, they're crazy, they're addicts, or they're just lazy. Or a combination of any of them. I've met people fitting into all these categories. Determining the percentage of each group is the tricky question.

        • I know that, you know that. But anyway, I'm not for making life harder for the homeless -- it's not like they have easy lives to begin with.
  • Who the hell is going to fish out a visa card, type a value into a reader, swipe / wave the card etc. instead of just tossing a coin in a guitar case?
    • You didn't even read the summary. The "point" is that fewer people are carrying cash of any kind, thus there's no coin to throw into the guitar case.

      I don't think this is an advancement, as a hobo with a guitar is still a hobo.

    • by jaseuk ( 217780 )

      You've missed the point on several levels. One of the novel features of this setup is it just takes a straight £2 or whatever it is charge from the tap. THe performer doesn't need to enter a price.

      I use contactless a lot, I can pay by phone, card or a keyfob. Neither really require very much fishing. I don't usually even remove my card to pay, just tap my wallet.

  • Put these readers at toilets in central London (and other places) so I can use my contactless to relieve myself when I don't have coins on me. Oyser users may also appreciate it if they can use their card for this purpose too.

  • The beggars and street bums in San Francisco already are equipped to take credit cards, but this will really step up their game. Thanks, tech industry!

  • For years, my standard response to the panhandlers infesting our downtown area has been, "Do you take debit?"

    If this catches on, I'll have to revert to my former practice of politely asking them to fuck off.

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