The following is an excerpt from our recently published Free Guide To Cashless Payments – click on the link to download the full guide now.
All around the world, from China to the United States, the cashless economy is being hurtled forward by consumer preferences and technological advancements. It also doesn’t hurt that governments are also keen to eliminate easily-hideable cash money. These forces are leading more and more commercial transactions to be handled without cash, across every type of endeavour.
As events professionals, staying on top of the latest consumer trends should be your top priority. Most of the world’s larger festivals and exhibitions have already started exploring cashless payments systems, and within a few years it is likely to be the norm across many types of events; organisers who fail to ride the wave could easily find themselves lagging behind the competition.
The first step forward is understanding the cashless payment systems landscape, and the three major options for processing cashless payments at festivals and events: contactless credit cards, mobile payments and RFID technology.
We’ve recently published a brand new guide that introduce and compare these three, enabling you to make a more informed decision when you do decide to take the plunge and go cashless. You can get the full guide here for a feature-by-feature breakdown and comparison matrix, or get the abridged version in the following links:
1. Cashless Payments Using RFID
RFID technology uses radio waves to track tags containing electronic information. Tiny RFID tags can be attached to wristbands, lanyards or badges, and can be scanned using dedicated scanners or modern smartphones.
One of the most popular use cases for RFID, mainly in events, is using the RFID tags as ‘wallets’ that attendees use to pay for food, drinks and merchandise (after topping them up with credits, either before or after the event).
In an RFID payment system, attendees would simply present their wristband to the vendor, who would then use his or smartphone or dedicated scanner to charge them for whatever they’re buying. This can be used alongside traditional payment methods or as the exclusive way for consumers to conduct transactions at the event.
To learn more about RFID payments, check out the following resources:
- The Beginner’s Guide to RFID Technology for Events
- 10 Advantages of Cashless Payments for Events
- Token’s Cashless Payments Systems
2. Mobile Payments
Mobile payment refers to various apps that turn the smartphones that consumers are already carrying into a digital wallet which can be used to pay for goods and services. Google’s Wallet (recently rebranded Google Pay) and Apple Pay have both launched in recent years, and have seen some adoption in the United States, Europe and Australia.
However, the most significant advances in e-payments have actually been in China, where Wechat Pay and Alipay have seen massive adoption of their QR-based mobile payment system; while WhatsApp payments have recently been launched in India.
With at least one of these apps already available available in virtually every event-goer’s pocket, it only makes sense to wonder whether mobile wallets are set to be the standard in cashless payments at events and elsewhere. However, we believe the answer to that is negative – mostly because these devices rely on internet connectivity, which is often scarce at remote festivals.
To learn more about using mobile money at events, check out the following resources:
- Why Apple Pay, Google, WhatsApp And Alipay Won’t Kill RFID
- How To Avoid Wasting Money On Temporary Wifi For Events
3. Contactless Credit Cards
Contactless credit cards, such as the ones provided by Visa and Mastercard, are growing increasingly popular with consumers. These allow credit card transactions to be completed instantly simply by scanning the card, rather than the cumbersome method of swiping it in a reader.
Contactless cards are similar to RFID wristbands in that they are both very fast and easy ways to make payments. However, there are also several key differences; and similarly to mobile phones, their main drawback as a cashless payment method at events is that almost all credit card payments are processed online, which could lead to event operations breaking down or slowing down during periods of intermittent connectivity.
To learn more, read our comparison between contactless credit cards and RFID.
Want to get the full comparison as a nifty e-book you can print or read on any device? Get your FREE copy of The Event Manager’s Guide To Cashless Payments!