I have worked in the live entertainment space for over three decades now, and it’s never been a more exciting time to be in the heart of it all with such significant changes occurring in the event landscape right now. I’m talking about how ATMs and cash transactions are becoming a thing of the past, as event organizers shift gears by deploying efficient, contactless forms of payment on-site with a simple tap of the wrist.
Those who know me may have heard me use my pool party analogy. Have you been to a pool party? It starts off with a bunch of people standing around the pool, and you’re all waiting to see who is going to be the first one to jump in.
Two things might happen; you have a brave person who takes the first leap, or somebody gets pushed in. Both scenarios end up with the same result. After five minutes the pool is full.
A year ago, that’s what was happening with cashless payments at festivals. We’ve witnessed the hesitation disappear in front of our eyes. But why?
Let me start off by clarifying – what is ‘cashless’? There seems to be some confusion with events calling themselves ‘cashless’ when in fact they still take cash, credit or debit cards. That’s not cashless. Cashless is not simply adding the ‘option’ to pay via RFID (or Bluetooth or NFC – whatever the technology may be). A cashless event is where contactless technology is used as the sole method of payment.
The second thing we should clarify is that there are two main types of cashless payment systems; open and closed loop. With open loop you still need to connect with the outside world (wifi/broadband). With closed loop, you function as if you were your own country, trading your very own currency. You do not need to be ‘online’. This is important to note, as one of the concerns we consistently faced was the security and reliability of such systems. When you and your patrons’ money is at stake, it is a concern we well understand.
At Intellitix, we chose to develop a closed loop system for far more reliability and security. In fact, we’ve had our cashless system certified with the Common Criteria EAL3+, which puts it into an elite group of IT products recognized by 26 countries around the globe. Its security is certified as on par with that of Apple, Microsoft and IBM. And trust me, this wasn’t cheap to do!
Before launching our platform, we conducted test trials all around the world while obtaining feedback from organizers and consumers everywhere from Scandinavia to Rio de Janeiro and New York City to Central Europe. Our vision of a cashless event landscape has come to fruition. Within the past 12 months, we experienced a twenty-fold increase in cashless transactions with over four million cashless transactions made, totaling more than $50 million US dollars in on-site spending in 2014 alone.
So what has changed? Well, that’s simple – trust, awareness and understanding. People have now seen cashless technology in action at some of the biggest events in the world and the benefits to organizers, vendors and consumers are simply too great to ignore. Faster service, increased revenues, improved security, eradication of theft and fraud. The list goes on.
The industry is set to continue to embrace this cashless revolution. The future of cashless and contactless technology has arrived.