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Ann WilkinsonJul 21, 2022 11:13:16 AM4 min read

Cashless RFID vs contactless payment methods - what you need to know

Contactless payments which include contactless cards and contactless payments made by mobile phone continue to grow in popularity. In the US contactless payment usage has traditionally lagged far behind other countries. However the global pandemic saw accelerated adoption rates of contactless payment methods. Visa recently reported that nearly 20% of in-person credit or debit transactions in the US are now contactless. Contactless cards are more popular than contactless payments made via mobile phone.

In the UK, adoption is even higher, with contactless payments now accounting for 27% of all UK payments.  

Despite the popularity of contactless payments, RFID-based cashless systems are often the preferred payment choice for large-scale events, particularly festivals which are often held in remote locations. To understand why, let’s look at some of the key advantages cashless RFID payments have over contactless payments.

1. Cashless RFID systems avoid network connection problems

Anyone who’s ever been to a large-scale event or remote location and has struggled to get a mobile signal will agree that WiFi / 4G can be a huge issue when 1000’s of people are gathered in the same place. 

Unlike contactless payments, RFID cashless payments can work independently of the networks and there’s no power requirements. As RFID technology can work 100% offline, this avoids those inevitable network issues found on greenfield sites. This ensures 100% uptime for your event.

Contactless payments require a solid internet connection in order to process payments. Should the internet go down, then transactions can’t be made and the event or venue loses money until the system is back up and running again. A nightmare situation that both Glastonbury and Reading Festival experienced only recently.

Even if a festival organiser was to invest in temporary wifi to avoid any downtime, this solution comes at a cost, which can run into thousands of pounds. 

2. Cashless RFID payments offer opportunities to increase revenue

Our customers on average achieve a 22% increase in revenue when they switch from contactless cards to a cashless RFID system. Why? Let’s take a look at just some of the ways event organisers can boost their revenue with cashless RFID - opportunities that aren’t possible with contactless cards.

Cashless systems are normally launched prior to the event itself and attendees are encouraged to top up online beforehand, which helps to avoid delays getting into the event itself. These pre-event top ups also provide event organisers with an additional revenue stream which can help to improve cash flow.

Cashless RFID also opens up sponsorship opportunities, the lifeblood of live events. The RFID wristband itself can be sponsored and proving value to your sponsors is so much easier through the detailed event analytics available.

Lastly, RFID cashless payments offer a new revenue stream through breakage. When customers are left with a minimal amount of credit on their wristband, it’s common for them not to request a refund. These minimal amounts are known as breakage.

3. RFID cashless payments can reduce your operating costs

With no wired LAN installation cost, no cash transfer, drop or uplift costs and no merchant service fees, cashless payments help you to manage your operating costs effectively.

4. RFID provides full transparency of vendor sales

Credit card transactions aren’t as transparent as RFID payments and this makes reconciliation more difficult. Theft and fraud can be an issue if vendors bring their own terminal or offer cash as well. 

5. Immersive attendee experience

RFID technology is not just about cashless payments. RFID can provide the foundations for adding digital access control and brand activations to your event. Integrate access control with your cashless payments system to manage entry to restricted areas and reduce your security costs in turn. 

6. RFID offers powerful data & insights 

Cashless RFID payment systems put the guest transaction data in the hands of the event organisers, rather than the banks. All of the data is held in a platform such as Tappit Insights, which allows for detailed analysis. These insights can be used in many ways to make your next event better. Here's some examples:


  • Effortlessly collect contact details and consumption data from all your attendees including customer insights, buying habits and popular items. Have complete control over how customer information is collected and used. 


  • Track attendees’ behaviour, including types of purchases, consumption peaks, etc. This is impossible with contactless payments where all data is collected by the bank alone.


  • Create targeted marketing campaigns with your attendees’ contact details and consumption data. Measure the results of your actions with precise indicators, including open rates, turnover generated, and so on.


  • Identify and reward your most loyal attendees to develop a long-lasting link. Grow your community with trusted ambassadors.

    The table below provides a quick reference of the features available with cashless RFID that aren't possible with contactless payments.
    Cashless-Comparison (1)


Contactless payments and cashless RFID share many advantages. They’re all convenient payment methods that offer fast transaction speeds and they’re secure. 

Despite the popularity of contactless payments made by card or mobile phone, cashless RFID payment systems offer a number of clear advantages. The opportunities to avoid internet connectivity issues, drive additional revenue and reduce your operating costs make RFID one of the cashless payment types you should consider for your next event. 

If you’d like to find out more, or discuss your requirements in more detail, then get in touch with us.


Back to: The complete guide to RFID