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Street artists will take contactless payments at this year's Edinburgh Fringe


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The future really is cashless, as street performers will commence taking contactless tips at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  

Becoming the globe’s first ever contactless ‘tip-to-tap' festival, the 2018 Fringe will now give buskers and performers the chance to support their art via card tips.  The decision to use the technology comes after a study found that festival goers physically carrying cash had dipped dramatically.  

To make this dream a reality, the Fringe will be installing six designated tap-to-tip stations along the Royal Mile. Artists who are performing along the street from August 3-27 will each be given a designated space and have access to a contactless point.  

The stations will be a product of a collaboration between the Fringe and iZettle - a commerce platform allowing small business and organisations to thrive safely and fruitfully.  While the 2018 Fringe is essentially a test-run and, if the reaction is positive, we can expect to see a permanent partnership between the Fringe and the company in the future.  

Andy Meldrum, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s street events manager, told the BBC: “Artists rely on the generosity of the general public who stop to take in their shows when passing through our street event arenas.

“Our partnership with iZettle is set to ensure our performers continue to get the support they deserve.”

The decision to opt-in and include the six tap-to-tip stations at this year’s Fringe comes hand-in-hand with the current climate that street performers are operating in.  Artists are seeing fewer cash contributions pass through their hands than ever before, due to more people opting for a ‘cashless lifestyle’.  

The Managing Director at iZettle UK, Edward Hallet, expressed his excitement at partnering with the Fringe Society.  He said that the company’s main aim is to “give festival goers the choice to pay in whatever way suits them best while making sure each performer has the tools needed to get paid.”

Repeat Payments will be the main feature of the contactless system at the Edinburgh Fringe.  This means that street performers will be able to accept a continuous stream of contributions from the audience, before, during and after their show.

On the Repeat Payment method, Hallett said “Using our Repeat Payments feature at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe removed the manual payment process for artists, making tipping easier for the audience and performers alike.”

Head down to the Royal Mile this Fringe season to try-out the tap-to-tip sites yourself. 

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 

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