Pub stops taking cash payments 'in UK first'

Shehab Khan
The Boot pub in Freston near Ipswich, Suffolk: PA

A traditional pub in the Britain has stopped taking cash payments and is the first in the UK to do so, its landlord has claimed.

The Boot in Freston, near Ipswich, no longer has tills and customers have to either pay by card or through their phone.

Having been derelict for nine years, the 1530s pub was refurbished by landlord Mike Keen, who has now opted to go cashless.

Mr Keen said there were many benefits, most notably lower insurance premiums as cash is no longer kept at the premises.

He said some delis had gone cashless and at least one bar in Manchester, but no traditional pubs before The Boot.

"Cash has always been a pain. You've got problems with theft," he said.

"The banks charge a fortune for you to pay cash in, they take a cut of everything you pay in.

"You have to organise change, go into town, park, queue up which is another security risk or pay a firm like Securicor to pick it up.

"The bottom line is so hard we have to take advantage where we can."

A sign on the bar of the Boot pub in Freston near Ipswich, Suffolk (PA)

The pub, which has a 12-seater cinema in an outbuilding, is focused on food and Mr Keen said there was around a 60-40 split on food versus drink sales.

He said card payments cost him up to 1.5 per cent per transaction.

The system of card machines is backed up with dongles in case there are problems with the internet connection, but Mr Keen said they had not had any problems yet.

Landlord of the Boot pub Mike Keen (PA)

"If there was a negative it would be some people who are used to paying with cash are a bit taken aback when they haven't got the option, but everyone has a bank account," Mr Keen said.

He added of his claim to be Britain's first cashless pub: "You would expect it to be in London, but we pipped them to the post."

John Wardley, 85, who was at The Boot for lunch, said: "I've got in the way of using the cards as most of the purchases I make in a shop are under £30.

"In fact I use it all the time now - it's much more convenient."

Agencies contributed to this report