Educating the barman at The Refinery on contactless thanks to #GemaltoNFC

The other day I had cause to be in Southwark. I had a meeting taking place near The Refinery bar and restaurant. I had a few minutes spare and popped in there to get a coke and check my email.

At the bar I noticed the machine was contactless compatible.

Cue #GemaltoNFC challenge!

In readiness for this week’s series of challenges I thought I’d try using contactless to pay the £2.50.

“Can I pay with contactless?” I asked the barman as he brought over the machine.

He gave me a blank look then, a moment later he said, “Sorry?”

“Er, PayWave?” I said, waiving my Barclaycard at him.

He gave me a non-committal shoulder shrug.

“You know, like Oyster?” I prompted.

“Ahhh,” he said, coming alive.

I explained that his card terminal was contactless. I showed the logo on my Barclaycard.

He typed in £2.50 on the machine.

And that’s when it got rather interesting.

He reached out and took my card.

This is not how it’s done. I was momentarily shocked. “What the fluck is he doing?” I asked myself. And then I saw him gingerly holding my credit card against the card terminal. He saw the lights fill out. He heard the beep and he read the ‘approved’ message that immediately appeared on the machine.

The chap was ecstatic.

“Just think of the possibilities when you’ve got a busy bar,” I said to him, taking back my card. We then got into an agreeable discussion about the merits of stupid customers who take way too long paying with credit cards (or cash, actually).

This experience, like the previous one (with the Chinese), was also highly illuminating. He’d never seen it before.

Which begs the question: If you’re the owner of the bar, and you’ve just deployed contactless terminals, surely you should be briefing your team on their capabilities?

Or perhaps it’s down to the provider of the merchant services? Someone will have arrived at The Refinery one day and plugged in some new credit card terminals — probably quite recently — and they should have ensured that every customer-facing staffer was briefed on contactless. At the very least they should have done a demonstration, surely?*

I simply can’t stand the stupid amount of time it takes for credit cards to process at the best of times and when you add in the human factor — e.g. busy bar staff, crowded bar, folk fumbling for their credit cards and getting the PINs wrong… it can take ages to actually leave a place if you mistakenly held your tab on a card ‘behind the bar’.

Anyway. The Refinery has contactless. I might be in that region this week — if I am, I’ll be popping in again and using contactless. It was a very funky place with what smelt like some rather good food! (Here’s the menu).

* Yes, and don’t call me Shirely. For any Airplane fans reading.

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