The Trend Is Towards Cashless Festivals, And That’s A Good Thing

Cashless festivals on The Music 3.0 blogThe cashless society that was predicted many years ago is pretty much here, as fewer people resort to using cash in daily transactions. Using a credit or debit card sure beats carrying around a pocket full of bills and coins and having to worry about exact change in inopportune situations. Even festivals are now turning to cashless, and for the most part, that’s a very good thing for attendees, vendors and promoters alike.

If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship or an all-inclusive resort you know that you get a keycard that acts both as your room key and payment card during your stay. The keycard is tied to either your credit card or bank account, and everything is tidily settled at the end. The keycard is impractical for festivals but many have now turned to an RFID bracelet that serves the same function. Want to make a purchase? Just hold your bracelet over the scanner and you’re done.

This is better for consumers in that you don’t have to carry around a wallet with cash (which you might lose or misplace), and for the vendor because he or she doesn’t have to worry about giving back change or waiting for a credit card transaction. Everything goes faster so the lines are smaller. Plus, there’s no money lost by accident, on purpose, or in accounting, so the vendors, festival promoters and the acts can always see the amount of revenue generated and know just where everyone stands.

This works great if your bracelet is tied to an open-ended credit card (assuming there’s enough credit on it), but in Europe there’s been some grumbling about the cashless system because it doesn’t work as smoothly there. That’s because you have to load in a particular dollar amount and recharge as necessary, standing in long lines to do so each time. Then if there’s money left on the bracelet at the end of the festival, you have to stand in another line to get it transferred back to your bank account or credit card.

Clearly there are some bugs in the system, but these seem more regional than systemic, and just like so many other entertainment opportunities today, it looks like cashless festivals are here to stay.

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