One of Birmingham’s fastest growing tech businesses has sealed a ‘rail’ first that gives commuters the chance to pay for refreshments on the train with their mobile phone.
Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Droplet, which was founded by young entrepreneurs Steffan Aquarone and Will Grant, has joined forces with Chiltern Railways to provide the innovative new service that removes the need for cash or card payments when purchasing drinks and snacks.
A two-week trial – run on ten daily services from Moor Street to London Marylebone –was deemed an overwhelming success with the number of people choosing to pay with iPhone or Android already overtaking card payments on some journeys.
The initial success has meant that Droplet is now a permanent option for Chiltern Railways customers to pay for catering, with more opportunities to be unveiled later this year.
Steffan picked up the story: “We knew it would be an exciting alternative to conventional payments, but even we were surprised at how quickly it has taken off with commuters.
“The way it works is simple. You download the Droplet app to your iPhone or Android, load it with funds, and off you go! When you send a payment through Droplet, the Chiltern catering host gets a notification on their phone, and the entire thing takes place in seconds.”
“It’s quick, convenient, secure and fun – you can tell this by the amount of people who tweet about their Droplet activity.”
The Chiltern Railways agreement was a perfect first birthday present for the founders behind Droplet at the end of last year.
Just twelve months after the enterprise duo’s ‘coffee shop’ idea came to reality thousands of people downloaded and registered for Droplet and more than 300 merchants in London and Birmingham are taking payment with it.
Droplet remains the only payment service that is entirely transaction fee-free for retailers, with merchants also enjoying increased customer satisfaction and reduced time spent at point of sale.
Will Grant, CTO & co-founder of Droplet, concluded: “Our community is growing quicker than ever before and customers are fast becoming enthusiasts: adopting it as their favourite method of payment. We’re trying to build a product that our customers love.
“Through the use of social media, we’ve even been able to make the simple act of paying for something news!”
Alan Riley, Chiltern’s Head of On-Train Service said: “We’re always looking at innovative approaches to ensure that our passengers have the best experience possible, from offering free Wi-Fi on Mainline trains to introducing Business Zone on our popular silver trains. By offering passengers the opportunity to buy refreshments via the Droplet account on their mobile, we are making it even easier for customers to enjoy the onboard experience.”