Consumers are becoming an increasingly cashless bunch, and the uptake of mobile and contactless payment technologies is surging throughout the UK. The Payments Council reported recently that 1 million individuals have registered for their Paym peer-to-peer payment system, and in April the Card Association announced contactless payments had topped £100 million per month for the first time.

However this cashless revolution has the potential to harm the UK’s smallest business owners. Street sellers, market traders and buskers depend heavily on cash and small change, and with physical currency on the decline many are seeing their incomes suffer.

One business owner in Blackpool has decided to buck the trend and has modernised that most traditional mode of transport, the donkey.

Mark Ineson of Real Donkeys, which operates Blackpool’s famous beachfront donkey rides, has equipped his mule Dillon with a custom-made saddle featuring a contactless Barclaycard reader to enable cashless beachgoers to pay for their donkey ride with a tap, increasing his potential customer base exponentially. He 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.”

“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.”

Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclays, who helped Ineson come up with the saddle, said:

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

Ineson and Dillon are the latest in a string of previously cash-reliant traders making the move to card payment technologies. Companies such as Square, iZettle and Payleven are making accepting card payments cheaper and easier than ever before, and offering small businesses a new, convenient method of getting paid quickly.