Cashless Events


Closed-loop cashless payment systems are fast becoming the key tech at events around the world


Events across the globe are benefiting from some innovative technology as music, food, car and other entertainment festivals and shows are adopting cashless platforms to make it easier and safer for patrons to transact.In fact, some venues in the US only allow digital payments for ticketing and other transactions. Patrons are given options to load money on their radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or wristbands, or on cards, which they can use to pay for food, beverages and merchandise at the event. Mobile apps are even becoming payment options as more people adopt smartphones.

Money can be loaded online before the event, or you can use a bankcard or cash at the venue to load credit. Industry experts believe that in the next three to five years, many events will no longer accept cash payments.

Some of the benefits of electronic payments include faster transaction times and the elimination of long, slow queues. For vendors, it’s easier to sell more products at a lower cost. Moreover, when the technology becomes more advanced, vendors and event organisers will be able to use the data collected to improve customer experience, tailor their products (food and drinks) according to customer needs, and potentially throw in discounts for regular patrons. Patrons will be able to place orders in advance online and collect them upon arrival at the venue.



Although locally the adoption is still in its infancy, it is picking up momentum thanks to new businesses such as:


A finalist in the 2018 FNB Business Innovation Awards, Howlerhas provided its technology platform and related services to events such as the MTN Bushfire in Swaziland, as well as the BMW M, Afropunk, Ultra South Africa and DSTV Delicious festivals. In the past year alone, it handled over 200 cashless events and reached more than a million customers. “South African businesses have started to compete on the global stage, which bodes well for our country’s reputation,” says Howler founder Shai Evian.


Also at the forefront of delivering a seamless ordering service at events, ALLXS uses an integrated mobile app, point of sale, cashless payments and remote printing services. By putting an end to long queues with customers missing half the show, it’s helping to make events a better customer experience too. The system can be used by waiters taking orders on mobile POS devices – or customers can place their own orders via the mobile app and collect at designated points when ready.


G&G Productions
Not a service provider but an events company that has embraced this new tech, G&G employs the services of companies such as Howler to make its events cashless. The company believes this provides a safer environment for revellers attending a festival, and prevents vendors from overcharging customers.


So the next time you hear about your favourite artist coming to South Africa, check the payment options to help prepare you for the event.


WORDS Thabiso Mochiko


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