In the recent visit to London I was quite surprised by the extent the city has gone cashless. Many restaurants and outlets were no longer accepting cash and donation boxes in public charities have been replaced by just a single gadget that says tap to donate (usually a fixed sum for each tap).
Even buskers along some tube are putting up similar gadgets for cashless giving which I thought was interesting. But it is also clear that the buskers who have no access to the technology, the homeless people would soon be facing even less giving from the public.
There are some avenues to deal with this. For the homeless, quite often they should not be getting cash but more direct help such as hot food and shelter. Street begging for cash as a waning solution should be kept up with efforts both by organisations and the public to help in kind. Cash was a shortcut that may or may not help (they may buy cigarettes or alcohol instead of food); so might as well leverage on the trend for good.
For buskers, the payment gadgets becomes a startup cost together with the operating cost of the financial tech players collecting a cut on stream of payments. My suggestion is for fintech firms to use this opportunity to first propagate their gadgets and services – offer free device upfront for the small fees on payments collected. They might want to target buskers in more crowded, central location of course.
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