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Why do many taxis across the UK still not offer card payment options to passengers?

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Taxi drivers across the UK have different opinions on whether they should be required to accept card payments from their customers. While some see it as a way to increase their income and convenience, others worry about the costs and risks involved.

In some cities card payments are mandatory and are part of a condition of fitness imposed on licence holders. In London for example, Transport for London (TfL) requires all licensed black cabs to have a fixed working card payment unit in the passenger cabin plus receipt printing capabilities. In smaller towns like St Albans this has also been made mandatory and only recently this month Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have confirmed all taxis will offer card payment options.

However, for much of the UK, it is not yet mandatory for taxis to accept card payments. It is left to the individual taxi operator to decide whether they want to invest in a mobile card machine that can process card transactions.

Some of the benefits of accepting card payments in taxis are:

  • It can attract more customers who prefer to pay by card, especially younger and tech-savvy ones.

  • It can reduce the risk of theft or robbery, as there is less cash to steal.

  • It can save time and hassle for both drivers and passengers, as there is no need to look for change or find an ATM.

  • It can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as they can enjoy a quick and convenient payment method.

  • It can help drivers keep track of their income and expenses, as they can access their transaction history and reports online.

Some of the drawbacks of accepting card payments in taxis are:

  • It can incur additional costs for drivers, such as transaction fees, device maintenance, and network charges.

  • It can expose drivers to fraud or chargebacks, as customers may dispute or cancel their payments after the service.

  • It can cause technical issues or delays, as the device may malfunction or lose connection in some areas.

Therefore, some taxi drivers still have mixed feelings about the card payment mandate. Some welcome it as a way to boost their business and meet customer demand, while others resist it as a way to protect their autonomy and profitability. The debate is likely to continue as the card payment trend grows and the industry evolves.


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