When our team is speaking to Event Organisers and Venue Managers about cashless payments, we can sometimes come across objections and a healthy dose of scepticism. And why not - after all, any significant investment in new technology requires detailed investigation.
The technology needs to be the right choice for your business and your guests. Ultimately, the investment in cashless payments must deliver ROI.
With that in mind, we rounded up some feedback from the team to help us identify the most frequent objections to going cashless. Read on for these and our responses to each concern.
1. "My customers don’t want to go cashless."
Even prior to Covid, cash usage was in decline, RFID technology was making a regular appearance at large-scale festivals and mobile payments were on the rise across the globe. The global pandemic has significantly accelerated these existing trends further. We’ve seen seismic shifts in consumer payment behaviours and the pace of change in the payments industry has been remarkable.
The festival industry was amongst the first-movers into cashless payments. The first cashless festivals started to make an appearance around 2014 and by 2018 a significant number of festivals were cashless in the UK and US including Coachella, Leopallooza and Tomorrowland.
What we’ve witnessed since the advent of Covid are huge changes in the payments industry. Driven by fear that Covid could be spread by handling cash, consumers have ditched cash in favour of contactless cards and mobile payments. The shift in consumer payment behaviours makes this the ideal time to make the move.
According to a recent report by Marqeta:
“What the pandemic has done is force a global shift in behaviour where even many who are traditionally slow to adopt new technologies were forced by external events to adapt….it appears it is very much convenience that will keep the trend moving along.”
Source: 2022 state of consumer money movement report, Marqeta
And the use of cashless payment methods is likely to only get even more popular as the tech-savvy generations enter adulthood.
2. "Contactless cards are cheaper to implement and provide the same benefits."
Whilst mobile payments are on the rise, and in some countries such as China, they are in fact the most popular method of payment, it’s contactless cards that dominate the market in the UK, Europe and the US. As this is the case, organisations may question why it isn’t simply better to offer payment via contactless cards rather than implement a cashless payment system.
Large-scale events mean thousands of people coming together, often at remote locations. Using contactless cards at such events can be problematic as these payments require a stable internet connection to process transactions. Spotty internet connections at such events are commonplace so to rectify this issue, organisers need to invest in temporary internet connectivity which can be expensive.
Cashless payment systems however can work offline and therefore don’t require a stable internet connection. This is a massive bonus and saves on the cost of having to implement a significant internet infrastructure.
Cashless payment systems also put event data and analytics firmly in the hands of the event organisers rather than the banks. And once you own your event data you can make operational improvements on the fly, consolidate the learnings and make your next event even better.
Cashless payment systems also offer organisations the opportunity to combine payments with a loyalty programme or rewards scheme. Whilst plastic loyalty cards are on the way out and consumers leave their wallets at home, loyalty programmes directly accessed from a mobile device are dramatically on the rise as organisations harness the opportunities to be found with personalisation and incentivising behaviours.
3. "Cashless payment systems aren’t secure, unlike the banks."
Tappit’s cashless payment system is PCIDSS Tier 1 certified, offering the highest level of security. Both RFID and mobile payment technologies offer a highly secure way to pay.
RFID is more secure than any other ID such as barcodes, magnetic strips and contactless cards. It’s more secure than carrying cash or cards around at an event. RFID technology includes secure hardware that’s embedded into the chip itself to prevent unintended access or programming.
People are only likely to hold relatively small amounts of currency on a wristband whereas a debit card provides access to your bank account. If you lose your wristband due to theft or loss, simply report it to a member of staff, they will deactivate the lost wristband from your account and provide you with a new one, link it to your account with any existing credit.
Tappit Mobile Pay - our mobile wallet - is more secure than conventional credit and debit cards. You don't need to have the physical card present - so there is less risk of your actual card being lost or stolen.
Whilst contactless payments or ‘tap and go’ are easy to use, the conventional NFC payments are inherently risky, as they allow completely unauthenticated transactions (up to a specified balance).
Conversely Mobile Pay requires a pin to access the wallet to initiate a transaction which prevents malicious access into your wallet, and is as secure, if not more, than conventional chip & pin payments.
No bank card details are stored within Tappit’s infrastructure, nor anywhere else. Instead, a token that represents the card is used to process.
4. "Cashless systems threaten privacy."
Consumers are increasingly concerned about data privacy. Today, there is more understanding of how organisations, such as social media sites can track online behaviour and how that data is used to generate profit.
These privacy concerns have helped to bring about recent legislative changes such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (2016), California Consumer Privacy Act (2020) and Google’s forthcoming retirement of third party cookies - these laws are there to protect consumers’ rights to privacy and determine how their personal data is shared - and rightly so.
However, consumers are more willing to hand over their data if they receive something of value in return. In marketing terms, this is known as the ‘value exchange’.
“Value exchange is a transaction between two parties that results in each party receiving something of value, some kind of benefit, from the transaction.”
For example, consumers may not see the value in using a sports team's mobile wallet to pay for food and beverages at the stadium unless they get something extra for doing so. A white-label mobile wallet that offers a loyalty programme however will be much more appealing.
The customer signs up, you can collect zero party and first party data on them (via the cashless payments system) and in return, you provide the customer with targeted and timely campaigns, personalised rewards, offers, competitions - all based on their personal preferences.
There are other ways brands can emphasise the value exchange and reassure customers too. Be transparent over how the data is stored and used and use the data to provide an enhanced, personalised experience to delight your customers.
5. "It’s too expensive."
What we see time and time again is that both the financial and intangible benefits of cashless payment systems outweigh the cost to implement the technology. We usually see our customers revenue increase by 22% on average and there are significant savings from as cash handling is removed and reconciliation is faster. When Mercedes-Benz stadium went cashless they reported $350,000 in savings over 49 events in 2020 and the Tampa Bay Rays highlighted $150,000 savings in operating and manpower costs.
Any projected uplifts in revenue or cost reductions need to be included in the analysis and consideration of intangible benefits such as improved attendee experience must be accounted for too. Of course, there is the alternative cost to price up - that is the cost of doing nothing.
A full cost-benefit analysis is the best way to ensure the investment will pay back.
6. "My vendors will hate it."
In the past, we have seen vendors who prefer the invisibility that cash facilitates. This group however is a diminishing breed.
There’s a growing understanding from vendors of the benefits of cashless payment systems. There are cost savings to be had through the elimination of cash, fast reconciliation, and no risk of theft or fraud. Plus, transaction times are so much faster, more can be purchased and revenue is higher.
And finally, there’s the increased expectation of customers who have a preference for and expect touch-free payments.
7. "Mobile payments are the future, not RFID."
We can’t argue against this one and we’d agree that in the future, cashless payment systems powered by RFID technology are likely to give way to mobile payments instead.
This will be largely driven by the wide availability of 5G which will allow for increasingly reliable and stable internet connections - even at remote greenfield sites. And the readiness of consumers to use branded apps at events. With smartphone penetration at record levels, and continuing to increase, this is also likely to be less of an issue in a few short years.
That said, there will always be situations where an RFID wristband will be preferable to a mobile phone - think Beach Clubs and Waterparks - but we do expect to see more and more festivals for example using mobile pay over RFID.
That’s why at Tappit, we’re one of the very few companies to offer a range of ways to go cashless - customers can choose from RFID, Mobile Payments (in-app or web versions) or even a blend of these options.
A hybrid of RFID & Mobile Pay can be ideal for stadiums for example which may have a regular sports season, but also host concerts out of season. For example, Mobile Pay can be used by sports fans as they access their fan app, whilst RFID can be used at one-off concerts. The data from these different events is all collated and stored in a single platform - Tappit Insights. This hybrid solution gives venue managers a complete view of everyone who enters the stadium, all year round.
Customer expectations and preferences around cashless payments have changed for good - businesses no longer need to be concerned about convincing customers to use this technology. Cashless payment systems are now established in an increasing number of sectors - festivals, sports, stadiums, beach clubs, theme parks - and the investment has been proven to pay back time and time again.
We hope by addressing these concerns you have more confidence in cashless payment systems to deliver to your bottom line. If you’d like to know more or want to speak to a member of our team, please get in touch.