Bankaroo: Barclaycard introduces contactless payment saddles to Blackpool donkeys

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

September 1, 2014 | 2 min read

Barclaycard has brought contactless payments to Blackpool’s most important transport system - its donkeys - as part of a nationwide scheme aiming to innovate cashless transactions.

Dillon the donkey became the world’s first contactless payment pack-animal after the addition of a saddle which scans debit and credit cards via touch.

Mark Ineson, owner of Real Donkey’s tour company, said he approached the bank to solve a business issue - his customers' lack of access to cash on the beach.

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.”

Ineson added: “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.”

Barclays, collaborated with Seymourpowell, to create the saddle. Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclays said consumers will see the technology rolled out across the whole country to “pay for travel, coffees, lunches, evening drinks, even for supermarket top-up shopping.

“Assuming that Dillon’s pioneering approach in going cashless is a success, we could see the rollout of more Contactless Donkeys everywhere next summer.

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“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.”

At the moment however, Dillon the donkey is one of only 300,000 contactless payment points in the UK with the bank estimating that there are 45 million compatible cards in the public.

The bank, earlier this summer, announced that it is experimenting with integrating contactless payment software into wearable technology devices such as wristbands.

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