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Ann WilkinsonMay 24, 2019 11:59:02 AM2 min read

Tokens vs. Cashless payments: 5 reasons why tokens are no more than a token gesture

Ahhh, tokens.

Physical tokens are probably the first widely-accepted version of a “cashless” system implemented at live events. Surprisingly, many events still run on this analogue system today, forcing attendees to queue at a cash point to purchase chips to shove into pockets or (if you’re a fashionista Millennial) nineties throwback bum bags. Then, you just have to hope they don’t spill out onto the ground or get swiped while you’re dancing down the front.

Certainly, there are some benefits to the token system – probably the biggest being that it eliminates the need for WiFi or 4G to run credit card machines, a major draw for far-flung festivals. It also cuts out the need for your food, beverage and merch staff to handle cash, deterring theft. Tokens are cheap to produce and are relatively sustainable (if they’re reused year in and year out). You can also expect to see a lift in your takings, as there will be attendees who buy more tokens than they end up using.

All of these benefits are small perks for event organisers – but are they actually making your event better? The answer is no.

Here are 5 reasons an RFID cashless payment system is better than tokens.

1. Data. This is by far the biggest difference between tokens and RFID cashless systems. With an RFID system, event organisers have access to data and insights that can be used to improve their event – both from a logistics perspective and for your attendees. You’ll see who is spending what, where and when, and will have the opportunity to boost your event based on these reports.

2. Actually reduce theft and fraud. While tokens might prevent staff from skimming cash out of the drawer, the system doesn’t prevent them from handing out tokens to their buddies or hold them accountable for collecting the correct amount. With a true cashless system, you won’t have to worry about these kinds of cheeky exchanges.

3. Decrease costly overheads. Sure, tokens are cheap to produce, but the cost of additional staff to handle the tokens, manage inventory and complete end-of-day reconciliations will eat into these savings. An RFID cashless system streamlines these processes, decreasing your need for extra staff. What’s more, you still won’t need to set up WiFi for your entire festival ground – Tappit’s system can complete transactions smoothly without connectivity.

4. Faster transactions, shorter queues. No need for attendees or staff to fumble around counting tokens with the RFID cashless system. Guests simply tap their wristband to the handheld device and get back to enjoying the event.

5. Sustainability. The importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness to today’s event attendees cannot be understated (just look at Glastonbury). RFID cashless systems are very environmentally friendly, as they require less plastic than traditional tokens and can be re-used from event to event.

With an RFID cashless system, you’ll see the same benefits you get from tokens plus so much more. You can capitalise on your attendees’ thirst for going cashless without having to lug around buckets of tokens from bar to bar.