Trend alert: events are going cashless with payment wristbands

Last updated: 24 June 2015

Contactless payments are surging in popularity, and a new wearable is joining the lineup: the wristband. Major events across the globe have started using contactless wristbands to make transactions easier, faster, and more fun for attendees and merchants alike.

These wristbands are designed with embedded contactless technology that can securely link to a user’s payment card information. The user can then pay for products at the event by holding their wrist near the reader. Some even have the ability to function after the event so users can continue to make purchases at thousands of contactless payment-enabled retail locations.

Many of the big American music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits have started offering these wristbands with great success. Because cash and cards are easily lost, and carrying a purse or backpack can be a hassle, contactless wristbands are the way to go: unobtrusive, hard to lose, but still easy to access. And they make getting food, drinks and merchandise faster by cutting transaction times. Shorter lines are a huge win with concert goers.

In the same pursuit of convenience Disney World now utilizes contactless technology in their MagicBand which allows visitors to access their entrance tickets, hotel rooms, dinner reservations, and make payments all from their wristband. After all, who wants to keep track of details when you could be getting Mickey’s autograph?

Similarly, Gemalto just partnered with Saracens – a professional rugby union team in the UK – to offer prepaid wristbands that provide speedy and secure contactless payment at its Allianz Park stadium. So now you won’t have to miss that game-winning play because you were waiting in line for a snack.

Contactless wristbands benefit merchants, too. Faster transaction times allow merchants to sell more goods, and studies show that consumers using contactless payment spend up to 30 percent more than those who use cards or cash. Higher spending, coupled with speedier lines is a clear win-win for merchants.

Of course, we can’t talk about payments without addressing security. Wristband payments have the option to be secured with a PIN chosen by the user. This way, even if a wristband is lost or stolen during the event, no one can make purchases without knowing the associated PIN. Wearable payments secured with EMV chip technology and NFC for contactless capability are just as secure as any EMV payment, as they use the same security protocol for processing transactions.

So far, contactless wristbands have seen soaring success. Lollapalooza, one of America’s largest festivals with over 220,000 people last year, saw a third of their transactions via wristbands. Disney World saw a 7% increase in attendance and a 20% increase in revenue since implementing the MagicBand.

I’m betting that we’ll see contactless wristbands become a go-to payment technology at more concerts and sporting events very soon.

Learn more about Disney MagicBand here:

Disney video