Image: Unsplash; Mario Klassen

We round up the UK stadiums adopting cashless payment systems to improve the overall fan experience.

Can you remember the last time you carried cash? If the answer is no, you won’t be surprised to learn that a sharp rise in contactless payments and online banking has seen debit card transactions soar over cash payments in recent years.

As advancements in FinTech continue to rapidly grow, our dependence on electronic payment methods increases. Millions rely on contactless cards or mobile banking apps to make quick and convenient purchases. Not only does this make for a more safe and secure banking experience, it also helps alleviate stresses that interfere with everyday life such as long queue times.

The live events and hospitality industries are responding swiftly and smartly to technological transformations impacting the market. From boosted Wi-Fi connectivity to an increase in stadium screens, venues across the UK are putting tech at the forefront of customer satisfaction.

At an action-packed sports event every moment is precious. Many stadiums are working hard to limit the number of interruptions fans face on match days, such as excessive waiting times when ordering food, drinks and merchandise. By introducing cashless and biometric technology,venues can ensure fans are able to enjoy every second of the event, with the help of trusted financial platforms.

We look at stadiums across the country embracing advancements in FinTech to enhance the fan experience.

The Etihad, Man City F.C

Image: Etihad Stadium; Manchester City F.C

Fans of the 2019 FA Cup and English Premiership champions, Man City can now pay for products at the Etihad Stadium using Fingopay. The FinTech service uses the Hitachi VeinID payment system, enabling customers to link their vein pattern to their debit and credit cards to authorise payments using their finger.

Fingopay has been introduced to Joe’s Bar in the Etihad’s East Stand. This cutting-edge technology provides customers with a fast, safe and secure way to make transactions. There’s no need to cash, PINs or passwords, and unlike fingerprints, your vein pattern leaves no trace so it can’t be forged.

Steve Mcardle, business development director of Verteda (partners of Fingopay) said, “This is part of our strategy for delivering innovative new products and services to improve overall fan experience on match days” (via Essential Retail).

Fingopay’s Chief Marketing Officer, Simon Binns, also stated, “Manchester has a dynamic hospitality sector with some highly innovative operators... and positive environment for FinTech” (via Essential Retail).

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

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Tottenham Hotspur’s brand new £1 billion stadium is the first in the UK to go completely cashless. In a bid to provide the best possible fan experience, cash is not accepted for any purchases made at White Hart Lane or its surrounding campus.

As a result of ditching the dough, fans can expect to experience increased service speed,shorter queue times, better hygiene as staff won’t be handling cash, and more payment options. Tottenham Hotspur claim the stadium has been ‘designed with technology incorporated into the fabric of the building’. Other tech features include free WiFi in all areas of White Hart Lane, high-density match coverage, and a free mobile app to help fans get the most out of their match day.

In the extremely well-connected, cashless stadium, all transactions are made using contactless payment methods.

The Energy Check Stadium

Back in October 2017, Manchester’s Energy Check Stadium at Gig Lane and home to Bury F.C, implemented cashless payments for fans, which they claim to be a first for UK football. The club’s shirt sponsor Tappit - an innovative cashless solution enhancing live events-have created a Bury branded, NFC-enabled card, which can be used at all four of the club’s concession stands: the Members Suite; Starkies Restaurant; the Social Club and the Retail Shop.

With the help of a Tappit card, fans can pay for a half-time pie or a pint by making purchases with a single tap. All fans need to do is simply pre-load funds onto the card. Then they can benefit from reduced queue times and a secure payment, leaving more time for fans to enjoy a catch up with friends to talk match day analysis.

Twickenham Stadium

Technology has played a huge role in the refurbishment of the RFU’s East Stand at Twickenham Stadium. Most notably because the tech has two important purposes; to ensure guests have a seamless experience from booking to watching the match; to optimise operations.

Following a clear tech focus on improving the match day experience during the World Cup, the RFU wanted to implement this to the East Stand. Extending their tech offering to the bars and kitchens, the stadium is now cashless in the hope of speeding up and upgrading its quality of service.

The RFU’s Senior Project Manager, George Vaughan told the Stadium Business Summit,“My focus was to replicate the retail experience our fans are already familiar with outside the stadium. It seemed ridiculous that when visitors came to Twickenham that they should have to step back in time and bring wads of cash when every other retail business is offering them card or event contactless payments.”

He continued, ““Contactless is the perfect fit for the stadium environment. For recent fixtures we have been promoting contactless with giant flags, signage at all tills and lots of encouragement to ‘beat the queues’ by using contactless.”

What are your thoughts on completely cashless stadiums? Let us know by posting a comment on our Facebook or Instagram page, or tweet us @seatunique.