[Dave Birch] You may have noticed the announcement of a new contactless purse/loyalty scheme in the UK.

UK coffee chain Coffee Republic has teamed up with electronic money operator sQuidcard to launch the Coffee Republic contactless prepaid ‘Payment and Loyalty’ card.

[From The Paypers. Insights in payments.]

I asked Forum friend Adam Smith at sQuidcard for a card and he was kind enough to send me one. I logged on to their web site, registered, loaded a tenner and looked forward to my first contactless loyalty experience.

Naturally, I had to try it for myself as soon possible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work at our local Coffee Republic in Guildford so I couldn’t try it out when it arrived, but it does work at Coffee Republic in Broadgate. Since I was in the City for a meeting today I took a minor detour through Liverpool Street to try it out. I’m happy to say that it worked perfectly. The reader was prominent and the person at the till knew about the product. Having selected my coffee, tuna melt and crisps (special offer combo) I proudly presented the card and it worked splendidly. And here is the evidence.

Contactless Coffee

Well done to Adam and the chaps at sQuid. The coffee was very nice indeed, but I’m sorry to say that I prefer Starbucks Tuna Melt, though.

[Update from Dave Birch] Oh no! Oh dear! I happened to be passing later on and I was thirsty so I went in to get a soft drink. To ring the changes and to continue my exploration of the boundaries of contactless technology, I decided to pay with my Paypass card. It didn’t work! I waved my card fruitlessly (and drinklessly). Then I discovered the awful truth. The POS will indeed accept my sQuid contactless card and my Paypass contactless card but through separate contactless terminals. So you have to tell the poor chap on the till which contactless card you intend to use so that he can turn on the relevant contactless interface. Aaargh! This is a poor customer experience. Why can’t we have one contactless interface that is simply automatically activated when the purchase is rung up on the register?

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]


  1. But the branding is wrong: ‘payment’ is a negative word, and ‘loyalty’ implies a constraint on the user.
    It should be the “Coffee in a Card” system. Or maybe “The Key (of the Coffee Republic)”.
    I’ve met too many London marketing-droids. Kill me, kill me now 😀

  2. and the story began (or ended)like this :
    once upon a time there was a new way of payment named “contactless”
    which was (or supposed to be) fast&convenient&easy…

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