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Contactless payment device created for street performers

Tiptap enables street performers to accept cashless payments from audience members
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Street performers could soon benefit from being able to accept contactless payments, thanks to new technology developed in London.

The device, Tiptap, will be unveiled next month and has been created at Brunel University to make it easier for audiences to give money when watching street performance, including theatre, circus, magic and music.

It has been developed specifically for those who rely on cash but do not have a permanent base, such as London’s street performing community.

Tiptap is made up of two parts – a contactless payment-equipped stand into which the performer can plug a smartphone, and an app on that phone into which audience members can input the amount they would like to tip. They then tap their payment card onto the device to give money.

Emma McBride, who created the device, said: “For the third year in a row, cash has represented less than half of the total volume of payments made in the UK. This change in consumer behaviour has the future potential to exclude those who rely on cash to make a living, including street performers and musicians.”

She said the app could also provide performers with up-to-date earnings and feedback, and would allow them to track popular locations.

Users will be required to have their account verified by Tiptap in order to use it, and would be charged a one-off fee to set up the pay point as well as a 5% commission on tips.

While still in its development stage, McBride said she planned to soon start commercialising the product, and hoped to work alongside a company that already specialises in accepting contactless payments to refine it.

Tiptap will be on display at the Made in Brunel design showcase at London’s Oxo Tower Wharf from June 15 to 17.