[Dave Birch] My favourite pub in the entire world which, coincidentally, is the nearest pub in the entire world to Tweed House, is the wonderful Keystone. On any given day, it is statistically probable that there will be a least one person from Consult Hyperion in the Keystone and a reasonable statistical chance that one of our clients will be there too. The food there is outstanding. I highly recommend the ham and egg and chips: proper food, cooked properly. And now I have one more reason to go there: as of today, the Keystone has gone contactless! Naturally, ever active on your behalf to reconnoitre the borders of payment possibilities, I went with a crack team of thirsty Consult Hyperion beer payment experts to explore the new territory.


The results? Everything worked perfectly. The QuickTap with a BarclayCard MasterCard pre-paid PayPass application worked perfectly and forced the terminal online for authorisation:

The Samsung S3 with a prepaid Visa card was offline authorised for an excellent user experience:

And, of course, a boring old-fashioned Barclays debit card, which doesn’t even have a custom picture on it, works excellently in a pub-friendly tap-and-go with offline authorisation:

This was a great day for me. Once again, I forgot my wallet. But today, it didn’t matter. Because I got a coffee in Costa and lunch in the pub and I paid with my NFC phone in both. As soon as Marks & Spencer in Guildford chuck their stupid new unattended checkouts that take cash but not contactless, I won’t bother taking my wallet to work at all.

Eliminating the need to carry a credit card does not remove the leather wallet’s value as a central location to keep cash, ID cards (e.g., driver’s license, public transportation cards, and insurance cards), and more.

[From Are Mobile Payments Really More Convenient? – PaymentsJournal]

This is, of course, an extremely good point. But when I nip out of the office to grab a sandwich at lunch time, I don’t want to carry cash, insurance cards or ID with me either (I don’t live in a country where you need an ID to buy a sandwich, yet). Similarly when I’m standing waiting for a bus in London, I already have my phone in my hand. When I’m in line at Starbucks I have my phone in my hand. When I’m watching TV I have my iPad on my lap (and my iPhone next to me). The goal of the m-commerce mavens shouldn’t be to make an expensive simulation of the wallet in my back pocket, but a new way of transacting based on the fact that my phone is always with me.

Given all of the bad press that mobile NFC payments have been getting recently, I thought it was worth pointing out than when it works, it’s cool. Cool enough to replace contactless cards I couldn’t say, but contactless makes sense in a busy pub. The average basket size is less than £20, lots of people want to pay with cards, everyone in our office at least never goes to the pub without a smartphone, and a 10-second tap-and-offline payment saves time (and is faster than cash) so the bar staff can get on with the more profitable task of serving customers. If you don’t believe me, then take the opportunity to come and and try out the technological marvel of paying with your phone down the pub and you might even get a pint out of me too!

I have no idea what the money of 2050 will look like, but I can bore for Britain about what it might look like. And I can prove it to you in person if you come along to my favourite pub in the entire world, The Keystone, for a currey and a pint on Monday 19th November at 7pm for the Cafe Scientifique evening talk on “The Future of Money: The Galactic Guilder or the Guildford Groat?” by me.

[From These are a few of my favourite things]

See you there. Incidentally, if you want a status report on world mobile payments, my UK mobile Barclaycard and my US mobile Google wallet both failed at the contactless terminal in Tim Horton’s in Toronto last week.

These are personal opinions and should not be misunderstood as representing the opinions of 
Consult Hyperion or any of its clients or suppliers

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