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Ann WilkinsonFeb 18, 2022 4:08:47 PM5 min read

The cost of implementing an RFID system

So you’ve done your initial research into RFID technology, you’ve seen the benefits and think it could be a great addition to your event or venue. It’s time to delve a little deeper and look at the actual costs of implementing an RFID system. 

An RFID cashless payment system is an investment with up front fixed costs so you need to ensure that it pays back through increased revenue and lower operational costs. There’s also the intangible benefits to consider such as improved guest experience which may be more difficult to quantify - but get it wrong and you might not be coming back for next year.

Rather than simply looking alone at the fixed costs of implementation you need to offset this against the financial and less tangible gains - it’s all about calculating the return on investment.

You’ll find most RFID suppliers don’t provide prices on their websites and this is because there are so many different factors which go into building a quotation. Let’s start with the elements that will typically make up the quotation you’ll receive for implementing an RFID payment system.

The factors used to build an RFID quotation


  1. The number of attendees. Due to the fixed costs involved in implementing an RFID payments system, typically the cost per head will reduce the larger the event.
  2. Hardware. Typically, RFID tags are embedded in wristbands but they can also be embedded into lanyards, cards or badges. There is a fixed cost associated with supplying these. The cost of RFID scanners will depend on the number required. These are normally loaned by the supplier.
  3. Analytics platform. The quality of the event analytics you receive can really set one potential RFID supplier apart from another. Tappit’s RFID technology connects with all of your existing infrastructure to create a data ecosystem. It connects with your POS, ticket providers, CRM, payment providers and more. All the data from these separate systems is consolidated and available within a single data and insights management platform. 
  4. Event support and consultancy. The number of staff required on the ground, their training needs and event support requirements.

  5. Shipping and travel costs.

Now that we've considered the types of factors that go into providing a quotation for an RFID payment system, we also need to look at the financial benefits - namely increased revenue and lower operational costs.

Increase revenue with RFID cashless payments

RFID wristbands offer a number of ways for event organisers to increase revenue. Here's how:


Customers spend more. Our customers typically see an increase in revenue of around 22%, sometimes as much as 30% increase as we did with Finns in 2019. 


Fan experience. Definitely harder to measure with hard numbers but with shorter lines and faster transactions, less to carry and no worries about theft, your guests can immerse themselves in the event itself.


Additional revenue channels. Breakage revenue is additional revenue generated when wristband money goes unclaimed after an event. Pre-event cash tops ups is another revenue stream which improves cash flow for organisers.


Sponsorship opportunities. The data and insights you get from going cashless can be used as a powerful tool to negotiate better deals with your sponsors.  


Cost savings. Expect to reduce your operational costs by around 5-8% when you implement RFID technology. Improved reconciliation, no cash handling and better access control which saves on staffing costs. 


Build the fee into the wristband. It’s less popular with attendees but an event organiser can choose to charge an activation or refund fee which helps to shift some of the cost of an RFID system to the attendee.

Timing plays an important part in the final cost too

Our experience in delivering RFID cashless solutions shows us that the earlier you commit to RFID the better it is for your bottom line. Here’s why:


Build the cost into the ticket price. If you have the lead time, you can build the cost of the RFID system into your ticket price, effectively giving you the solution for free


Preloading of accounts. Communicate effectively with your attendees over a longer time period. This will encourage them to top up prior to the event and so budget more effectively.


New sponsorship opportunities. Branded wristbands, interactive offers, unique zones and promotional marketing campaigns are all possible with a longer lead time.


That said, we can normally turn around an RFID payment system quickly if necessary! 

The cost of doing nothing

Finally, it’s important to offset the investment in RFID vs the cost of doing nothing. Cash & card events also have fixed costs so it’s vital that they are also considered when assessing whether going cashless will benefit your business.


WiFi costs. To allow for card payments in greenfield or large-scale events will require event organisers to pay for event wifi. This can cost from around £10,000 and it’s still not guaranteed to work. As RFID doesn’t rely on WiFi it’s perfect for sites where internet connectivity could be an issue.


Lost and stolen cash. A realistic estimate of the amount of revenue lost due to theft and staff mishandling is typically 3%-15% of event revenue.


Staffing costs. RFID access control makes admittance so much quicker and easier and attendees can easily gain access to the right areas. As a result, you can reduce staffing and security costs.

RFID revenue calculator

To give you an idea of the additional revenue you could be realising by implementing cashless RFID, we’ve produced a RFID revenue calculator. Simply input your event details and you’ll receive a summary of projected revenue. This should help you to quantify the potential impact of implementing RFID. Note: This calculated value is based on the average increase in spend across our existing clients, and is purely indicative.


In order to assess the cost of an RFID system it's crucial that you calculate your return on investment.  The fixed costs, the potential uplift in revenue and operational cost savings must be compared alongside the costs of using a cash & cash solution.

We have implemented cashless solutions all over the world for a wide range of events and venues. If you’d like to know more about the costs of implementing RFID or what the potential benefits could be for your business then get in touch.

Back to: The complete guide to RFID technology for events