Glownet’s very own James Turner recently caught up with Resident Advisor to discuss cashless at festivals. Here, we catch up with him in more detail to understand the role of cashless.

Read Resident Advisor’s Feature here

1. What are the main benefits of cashless for promoters?

Event technology has rapidly evolved and even the term cashless is becoming largely redundant at the front of payments. The industry was caught napping a little and now it’s getting back up to speed with the real world. But now we’re into a new generation that goes beyond cashless.

Most customers want contactless and mobile payments. All cashless solutions include these methods plus a closed-loop offline payment system where promoters can integrate temporary contactless cards or wristbands (RFID) for customers who don’t use or want to use cashless (there is still an audience who aren’t convinced about a fully cashless society!)

For temporary sites like festivals, connectivity can be poor so ensuring that 100% offline RFID cashless transactions are enabled is the best way to make sure there is no downtime for vendors.

Enabling contactless POS across events has huge benefits for promoters. Reducing queue times by up to 6x, with most transactions taking less than a few seconds to complete! This has a huge effect on fan experience, but also sales updraft with some commentators noting an overall spend & transaction value increase by an additional quarter.

The benefits of this kind of cashless solution also enables a fairer event economy, with the promoter gaining total transparency of all vendor & concessions sales. This means fairer revenue share with concessions, greater cash security (less slippage), and the eradication of cash fraud & (in extremely rare cases) laundering.

All this, combined with the real-time data insights that payment enablers (such as ourselves) are developing increases operational efficiency & campaign/sponsorship amplification. It’s a no-brainer for many. Reducing budgets while simultaneously increasing revenues. 

2. How often do you see promoters giving refunds to attendees with money leftover on their wristbands?

All promoters that use cashless systems must offer refunds. It is generally not offered during an event itself as operationally this can be difficult to do effectively. Customers should be able to log in or submit a reference number to receive an automated refund of any unspent funds. It is up to the promoter on the period of time offered to claim such a refund, we advocate 4 weeks as a minimum for good practice. This enables promoters to close their accounts in good time too.

Promoters who use our system benefit from tools such as Wise, which issues batch refunds immediately with processing times of just seconds.

At we are encouraging promoters to move away from the old model of ‘loading credit’ to an account. We are pioneering a transition within the industry to a new model powered by digital wallets, where payment channels are linked directly to the payment method (e.g. bank card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc). This is the same payment model used across the world in other sectors, by companies such as Uber, RingGo & Deliveroo. 

With this model, we bridge the gap so that customers can use their wristband or temporary contactless card to make payments and only pay for what they actually buy. We can also pair this method with spending limits, helping customers to budget their event spend. It still has all the same benefits for promoters listed above, but it means that there’s no confusion for consumers, too. It also enables a single receipt or order history for attendees for total transparency.

In short, it eliminates the need for refunds and also enables them to take advantage of promotions & discounts offered by the event brands & sponsors to RFID wristband/temporary contactless card users.

3. On average, what percentage of refunds go unclaimed?

This very much depends on the audience. It is true that there is still a significant proportion of customers that make no attempt to claim back unspent balances, especially balances under £5. It can be as high as a third of these smaller balances. Most larger balances are claimed. 

The actual percentage that remains unclaimed is not too different from other prepay services such as Oyster cards, Starbucks, or prepay store cards.

At we strongly advocate that promoters give additional options to consumers to help make sure their balance goes further. e.g. Any unclaimed balances can be used to make future payments, even beyond the timings of ‘refund windows’.

This could be to buy tickets to future events, or even buy products beyond the event, (in the real world) which pairs really nicely with sponsor campaigns for events.

If consumers still choose not to claim their refunds, we also encourage promoters to consider donating unclaimed refunds to charities or good causes, as we don’t think it’s good practice to be making a profit for nothing. This is, of course, the choice of the promoter.


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