The evolution of payment technologies

The story until now

Although the first credit and debit cards were seen in the 1950s in the Diners Club. It was not until the early 1990s that the closed-loop cashless systems began to spread around the world. These new “smart cards” served as electronic purses that could be used to purchase things without the need for network connectivity. Soon enough, aside from purchasing, these smart cards took over office settings in the form of access control as they could be used to prove the identification of the customer.

Skip to the late 2000s and beginning of 2010s, cashless payments form now a key component of your day to day. With immense developments in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near-Field Communications (NFC) we have transitioned to a new trend of letting intermediaries to handle our transactions. For example, we rely on digital wallet systems, NFC payments done through a phone, and more importantly, doing all of our financial operations through mobile applications.

When did cashless technologies reach live events and festivals? It’s hard to say. Some claim that the first event who introduce it was Sziget Festival back in 2011 located in Hungary. Others say it was the sall festival Da Vinci Days in 1996 located in the United States.

The event industry has gone through many changes in their payment technologies. Use of cash, tokens, credit/debit cards has always been the standard. Recently, this as changed a lot as more and more events from all industries choose to use cashless as their way of payment. Cashless payments are a win-win situation for both events and attendees. Event organizers can enjoy with faster transactions and higher spending while customers don’t have to worry about their valuables being stolen or lost.

What’s next?

It is interesting to know how we got to this point, but what’s next? Cashless systems can be seen everywhere in our world. How will these evolve? We have dreamt of biometric forms of payment as if they were futuristic technologies, but turns out they are closer to us than imagined. If events can go cashless then surely entire countries could do it too, Sweden is among the ones expected to reach this within the next years.

Last year, Mastercard launched in Europe the Identity Check Mobile (ICM). ICM allows users to pay with their fingerprints and facial recognition technology to verify a cardholders identity. Also, last year Capital One released a feature that works with Amazon’s Alexa. Customers of Capital One can manage all of their financial transactions and queries simply by speaking to Alexa. The voice recognition software allows this technology to be highly secured and increase the speed of transactions. These technologies are already developed and working, in no time these will spread to our sectors and hopefully reach to our beloved events.

With facial recognition or fingerprint payments, you become your own ticket. There is no need to bring a wallet to the event (saving yourself he possibility of it being stolen), as you can validate your identification at the entrance with a finger tap, pay for your drinks with a selfie, and if you run out of credit add more money to your bank account by talking to Alexa.

Interested in knowing what benefits can cashless payment systems bring to your business? Learn more in our Home page.

Connect with your users; start early

The success of your event depends on your ability to build a connection with your users. From the first moment they hear about your event up to the moment they tell their friends about the great experience they had. Our focus is usually on giving users the most amazing time while being physically at the event. And it is true that this is where the real magic happens. Not only people to be delighted by music, friends and fun, they expect the smoothest and most frictionless experience possible. Using automated ticket validation, optimised access control and a cashless infrastructure go a long way in giving users an amazing experience at your event.

Start engagement early

Engagement starts way before your users reach the front gate. Far in advance you’ll need to engage the customers to drive awareness and ticket sales. A good starting point for engagement is the worlds largest social gathering; Facebook.

There are three types of Facebook ads we recommend to promote your event. These are designed to boost ticket sales, drive event responses and expand reach of your Facebook posts.

  • Sell more tickets: This type of ad has a “Buy Tickets” call-to-action button on it. By pressing the button it will take the user automatically to either your website, ticketing partner or any other format you are using to sell tickets.
  • Increase event responses: Similar to the previous ad format, instead of a buy option, there will be a button for users to mark if they’re attending or interested in the event. This will allow you build a pool of influences and followers to drive additional engagement and sales.
  • Post promotion: As one of the most common types of ad, it allows you to boost your Facebook post with the intention of reaching audiences likely to engage with your content.

An optimised and consistent user journey is the key

It is important to create a user journey that is consistent and optimised. Never look at marketing, ticketing, on-site and post-event separately. It all comes together as one customer journey. To ensure this, you’ll need to make sure all your marketing efforts are aligned and well integrated with your ticketing partner. Users hate entering data multiple times and will be very vocal if you don’t show you care about them every step of the way. Following this, you’ll need to ensure ticketing data flows directly into your access and onsite efforts. This is why Glownet has developed an extensive set of APIs that integrates with all major ticketing platforms. This allows us to facilitate real time box-office sales, ticket validation and profile integration. Together we enable the ultimate customer journey, where (social) marketing flows through ticket sales into the best live onsite experience. Interested to learn more? Get in touch.

How to increase your event’s revenue overnight

Is your event still using tokens? Or even worse, cash? There are ways to remove the annoying problems caused by cash and tokens such as long queue lines and inefficient money handling. These tend to be the main pain points of the customer journey in this scenarios, deteriorating and even ruining the overall event experience. With Radio (R) Frequency (F) Identification (ID) technologies being implemented on a mass scale, from metro cards, passports to cell phones, there is no excuse your event should not be using RFID technologies. The following are the benefits that RFID cashless systems can offer to your events.

Benefits of RFID Cashless Systems

RFID cashless technologies have greatly increased the customer experience by making the average customer journey a smoother process. The typical customer who is interested in a festival will purchase their ticket online, get his ticket redeemed for a RFID wristband or card at the festival entrance. He/she will proceed to top-up his RFID wearable with cash or credit card and then proceed to purchase anything that they wish simply by tapping their RFID device with the reader at the bar or merchandising store. At the end of the festival, the customer can get a refund of any currency that was left unused in their RFID chip. That’s it. RFID technology is able to speed up transactions twice as fast as there is no need anymore of wasting time either getting the correct change out of the cashier or waiting for the POS system to receive wireless connection. Customers on average spend up to 15-40% more translating into a substantial increase in revenue for the festival. Lastly, another indirect benefit of RFID technologies for customers is the elimination of the risk of theft of wallets and cards making a better and safer experience.

RFID cashless systems bring transparency and accountability to businesses. All cash is handled in a single place eliminating the possibility of money being mishandled or stolen. One of the most powerful benefits RFID technologies bring to the cashless system are the tools given to event organizers to manage their inventory in real-time. Given that there is an active WiFi connection, and your RFID provider has the appropriate software, data obtained from the RFID chips can be instantly generated into real-time intelligent reports. These reports bring smart information to event organizers about which are the best selling products or which point of sale systems are the most efficient ones. With this information, organizers can make quick-decisions regarding stock management instantly and prepare better for the next few days of the event or the next year.  

These are few of the benefits RFID technologies bring to cashless systems. It is highly anticipated that in the future not only most events will implement RFID cashless systems in their events, but also new technologies will develop that will bring cashless systems to a new topic. With the current mass use of bio metric scanners of fingerprints from offices to mobile phones and the penetration of facial recognition software into mass markets, who knows what the future developments of this area will bring. Regardless, it can only be expected that futuristic cashless technologies will improve the live event industry and many of the others who opt to adopt this aspect into their business models.  


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Do you think your business can benefit from RFID technologies? Email us and we will find a way to help you.