“That will be 7 credits,” says the concession vendor as he hands over a canned beer to the next customer in the seemingly never-ending flow of festival-goers.  Only $7?  Not bad for a huge event like this – you’ve likely paid more at the ballpark for a cold one.  You tap your RFID bracelet to the POS system, and go on your way – well, this time you do.  Last time the reader was broken and you missed your favorite song trying to pay for a drink.

Experiences like this are becoming increasingly common as festivals and large-scale events transition to cashless systems at an increasing rate.  As an event organizer, the idea of possibly increasing revenue with RFID wristbands is certainly enticing – but at what cost to your fan experience?

To find out, let’s revisit our festival-goer.  Like most, he didn’t read the fine print of the cashless agreement that was sent out before the event.  When he returns home to check his bracelet balance, he’ll be shocked to find out those 7-creditbeers he ordered actually cost $10.50 apiece!  That’s right – the exchange rate for credits was 1.5x, and now he feels duped.  Scrupulous organizers will say it’s his fault for not paying better attention, and sure, they’re right to a certain extent.  But have they traded lifetime customer value for short term profit?  Maybe – even the short-term profit depends on how much was spent on infrastructure and implementation of the complicated cashless payment system.

Infrastructure Required, Fan Experience Optional

Internet, power and personnel to support cashless RFID payments requires advanced infrastructure and planning.  Festivals and large events are oftentimes held in relatively remote environments – fields and parks with little access to power, let alone the internet.  And to top it off, you’ll be required to hire a support staff to attempt to fix broken technology before the vendors or the attendees notice.

Despite best efforts to get every attendee to load their bracelet with ample credits before the event, you’ll also need to pay for kiosks that allow guests to load more money to their wristbands – doesn’t this defeat the purpose of having the cashless system in the first place?

When it comes time to implement a cashless system, many organizers will be tempted to choose the least expensive solution – after all, they’ve already spent more than they imagined on infrastructure and personnel.   But choosing the wrong solution could spell disaster for your event should something go wrong with the technology, costing you more in the end.

Oh, and that festival attendee that was surprised to learn he spent more than he planned?  That wasn’t his only surprise.  He’ll be equally thrilled to learn his parting gift is a refund processing fee to get his remaining balance back.  Because everyone loves additional fees after dropping hundreds on an event.

Organizers Turn to Cash Management

Thinking twice about the techy RFID payment system, now?  You’re not alone.  Countless event organizers are looking for safer, more cost-effective ways to accept payments – especially those that don’t risk their customer experience and ultimately lifetime value.  As a result, many are reverting to the acceptance of the most trusted and transparent form of currency – cash.  However, to handle the influx of cash for their events, organizers are leveraging proven cash management solutions that streamline, automate and secure their cash environment.  Systems that are comprised of a smart safe.

Tidel understands the risk associated with cash payments and has developed cash management solutions designed to improve efficiencies, reduce risk and increase operator profits.  Tidel smart safes allow for high volume cash environments, such as large event or festival, to safely deposit and manage cash in one integrated system.  Easy to use and quick to deploy, Tidel smart safes are the perfect answer to the organizer/operator looking for an alternative to a cashless payment systems, all the while providing a great customer experience.  To learn more about Tidel smart safes, visit Tidel.com