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26 & 27 NOV 2019

ExCeL LONDON

The Manchester Bar That’s Only Accepting Cashless Payments

A growing number of bars and coffee shops in Manchester are turning away cash and only accepting card or Bitcoin payments - some places have even chosen to adopt cryptocurrencies!

The days where tills were full of notes and loose change are becoming a distant memory, as the age of contactless cards and mobile payments is taking over the world. 

Sandbar, a real ale and craft beer bar, decided to go cashless in February this year. The manager, Ash Wright explains what he thinks about this payment shift.

“Cashless payments are the future,” said Ash. 

“Ten years ago, 95% of our take was cash. However, in the last two years, this percentage has plummeted to 25%, and we think that this decrease is going to continue.”

Ash also believes that cutting out cash payments saves time and money and creates a safer work environment for his employees. 

“The cost involved in servicing cash was completely unbalanced in comparison to card payments,” he says.

“It was costing us 40 hours of management time a week! This was spent auditing it, counting it, taking it to the bank and filling in all the cash and till sheets,

“The safety of our staff is our top priority and having cash in our pub puts our employees at risk. Robberies in bars have always been a thing but recently, there have been a few with guns. Having cash here soon became a serious risk,” said Ash. 

“I don’t want my staff to have a gun in their face and this scenario should not have to be something my staff need to worry about.” 

Cash usage is in serious decline in the UK. According to UK Finance, 62% of all payments made in 2006 were by cash, this number fell to 40% in 2016. By 2026, it is predicted to be used for just 21% of transactions.

Data and privacy concerns were definitely a concern when Sandbar introduced Bitcoin payments. This is because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies offer a greater degree of anonymity than card payments.

Created in 2009, Bitcoin is a form of digital money ‘mined’ by computer. It has no central bank and is not regulated by any organisation or state, and its value has fluctuated wildly over the years. One Bitcoin was worth around £6,062.94 at the time of writing - down from over £14,000 at its peak in December 2017.

“For most people, Bitcoin is a novelty, because the money they’ve got in Bitcoin is investment money, not money to buy a beer with,” said Ash. 

“Bitcoin has kind of kept itself to itself, but bringing it into a bar setting might further its expansion and awareness. Cryptocurrency may become part of the economy very soon.” 

UK regulators view Bitcoin as a commodity rather than a currency, but it is gaining credibility as a legitimate method of payment for a growing number of retailers.

It can be bought from online exchanges or in person from Bitcoin ATMs, including The Corner Store a few doors down from Sandbar.