Meet Dillon, the world’s first cashless donkey

Donkey rides are one of the most traditional attractions at the UK’s Blackpool Beach, but one troupe of donkeys has had a modern makeover – thanks to a specially designed contactless payment saddle.

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,” says Mark Ineson, owner of Real Donkeys. “So I approached Barclaycard to see whether they could help solve the problem.”

Ineson, who has given donkey rides on Blackpool’s beach for nearly 20 years, worked with the payments giant to give Dillon a technological makeover. The innovative saddle means that parents can now use a contactless credit or debit card to pay for a ride down the famous Blackpool Sands.

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,” says Ineson. “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.”

There are now 45 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK and a quarter of all plastic of new cards are contactless-enabled. Tami Hargreaves, Head of Contactless at Barclaycard, who first introduced the cards to the UK in 2007, said: “We’re constantly building on the market leading innovations we have delivered, and we have exciting projects in the pipeline which are set to shape the future of payments.”

She added: “We leapt at the chance to help Dillon and his owner Mark get more from his business and bring smiles to more kids this bank holiday. Now all we have to do is hope the British summer plays along.”

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