Wristbands enable contactless payments at festival

By UK CreditCards.com

Festival-goers at the recent Isle of Wight festival were able to trial a new wristband that combines the benefits of a prepaid credit card with the convenience of contactless payment technology. VIPs were handed their own wristband, which they were then able to use to purchase food and drinks. Research conducted among the trial participants shows that the innovative wristbands were extremely popular, with everyone saying they would happily use them again in the future.

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Prepaid contactless wristbands put to the test
MasterCard teamed up with Central Catering Services and the festival's promoter to trial its PayPass prepaid contactless wristbands at the Isle of Wight festival earlier this month. The wristbands were pre-loaded with £30 and handed out to 150 revellers, who were then able to spend the money on food and drinks at certain outlets.

Rather than waiting for change, wristband users were able to pay by touching their prepaid wristband on a special terminal, greatly decreasing the time required to make a purchase. The vast majority (96%) of people said they reduced payment times, while 98% said they were easier to use than a standard debit or credit card. Every single person who trialled a wristband said they were keen to use the payment method at other festivals, concerts and sports events in the future.

Festivals could become a 'cashless' environment
The success of the MasterCard PayPass wristband suggests that it may be possible to hold cash-free festivals in the future, thereby reducing the risk of theft and easing congestion in bars and food outlets. "The project was really the first part of testing consumer acceptance of a truly 'cashless' environment, which has been much talked about in the festival world," said Hany Fam, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland in a press release. "We look forward to extending the PayPass prepaid wristbands to provide access as well as payments at more festivals and events across the UK."

Steve Daly, operations director at ID&C, which supplied the wristbands, said that the devices were "clearly" able to enhance the user experience. "It's the simplicity and speed which make contactless wristbands so attractive to festival organisers and punters alike," he explained.

Nigel Harris, a spokesman for Jamie Oliver's Fabulous Feasts restaurant, which supported the technology at the festival, agreed. "The speed [of payments] was incredible and left some customers just standing waiting for something else to happen, as they couldn't believe the payment had taken literally seconds," said Mr Harris in the release.

See related: Starbucks to support contactless card payments; McDonald's adopts contactless card technology

Published: 22 June 2011