Cash disappears from our festivals, but alternatives create new problems –

More and more events are choosing to ban cash in favor of “cashless” systems. But with their costly logistics and various inconveniences for festival goers, the merits of this type of system are discussed. Mainly because they also raise questions about data protection. In Nyon, the Paléo Festival has opted for a hybrid solution.

Some events now require you to load a special card or smart bracelet to pay for drinks or food. This is the “cashless” system, which has been applied to festivals since the early 2010s.

More and more events have adopted or will adopt this type of practice. In French-speaking Switzerland, this is especially the case at the Venoge Festival (Penthaz, VD), the Au bord de l’eau festival (Sierre, US) and the Harvest Festival (Neuchâtel).

In the events that set up such a payment system, it is generally imposed, with no alternative to pay for consumption on the spot. With the same system everywhere: cards or wristbands can be loaded on the festival site, at special counters or online with an application.

The bracelets are only valid once and often for a fee. At the Fête des vendanges and the Venoge Festival they cost 2 francs. At the Au bord de l’eau festival, they are included in the ticket price.

>> On the same subject, also listen to this Color 3 program in 2019:

Courtyard Window – Cashless at Festivals, Pretty Annoying / Pony Express / 14 Mins / September 16, 2019

Problematic reimbursement system

According to the organization of these festivals, several reasons justify this choice. On the one hand, the management of the bars would be optimized and easier for the volunteers. There would be fewer cash register errors, faster and therefore more sales. On the other hand, this system reduces the risk of theft.

But one of the questions these devices ask is the fee. At the end of the evening or the festival, you should remember to collect the remaining money at the cash registers on site. In case of forgetting, it is possible to claim a refund on the internet within a certain time. But then you have to fill in your personal details.

According to the Fédération romande des consommateurs (FRC), in the current context of increasing data theft, festivals should try to minimize the information collected about the public. For the FRC, “cashless” solutions therefore raise questions from a data protection point of view.

The organization is also critical of the fact that festival goers must take steps themselves to get their money back. She believes that organizers should be proactive and contact customers immediately after the festival to offer them a refund, and that unspent money should not be a windfall for festivals.

Hybrid solution implemented at Paléo

In this context, the Paléo Festival (Nyon, VD) has developed a hybrid solution for the next edition. The currency will indeed disappear from the stands, but all other means of payment will be possible. “We have chosen to give the festival goer the best, i.e. he will be free to pay with whatever he wants,” explains Stéphane Demaurex, member of the Paléo management.

Debit or credit cards are therefore accepted, as are telephone payment services, such as Twint. “And if we arrive at the site with only cash, it will be possible to go to a ‘bank point’ to load a card or a bracelet. But it will become a carrier system, which will therefore not ask for information about the person ”, he explains, while also reminding that people who only want to pay cash are becoming rarer.

>> Read about it: User boom continues for Twint payment app

“The main thing is not to complicate the lives of festival-goers,” estimates Stéphane Demaurex. “Today, 99.9% of tickets are bought online with a credit card, which gives a lot of contact details. So we have the data,” he recalls.

consumption incentive

The Paléo stands will accept various payment methods this year. [Thierry Parel – RTS]Finally, these fast payment systems can also be criticized in the sense that they encourage more consumption. “That’s a good question,” admits Stéphane Demaurex. “It is true that it encourages consumption, but in the same way that we are confronted every day, on the Internet or in any point of sale, once we have an easy means of payment,” he says.

However, he believes that people are used to using apps or prepaid cards to control their spending.

On the other hand, he notes that the lack of change can also encourage stands to show fairer prices. “With money, we would be tempted to round off a product that should sell for 5.50 francs to six francs,” he illustrates.

Radio subject: Marie Tschumic
Web Adaptation: Pierrik Jordan

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