Cashless transactions a hit at festivals, says Barclaycard

young people having fun at festival

Cashless transactions at this year’s British Summer Time festival increased sharply as more small and micro-businesses started to accept card, mobile and contactless transactions, says Barclaycard.

Festivals are famous hot-beds for innovation, especially when they can cut costs for everyone involved. As Steve Daly, head of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) at ID & C, told PaymentEye last year, ““The festival market is getting more and more competitive, and festival organisers’ overheads are increasing. Using cashless has proven to increase revenues by 30-70 per cent, and in the current environment, festival organisers cannot ignore this.”

Ignore this they have not, as recent data from Barclaycard confirms. According to it, cashless transactions at this year’s 10-day BST increased sharply compared to last year. This includes:

  • An 81% increase in the number of cashless transactions compared to 2015
  • 70% increase in the amount spent through payment terminals compared to 2015
  • 75% of all eligible transactions (those up to £30)were made via contactless – a 19% year on year increase

Barclaycard also said that at the festival, ALL merchants including small and micro businesses, accepted card, mobile and contactless transactions – “there are no ‘cash only retailers”.

Its small business and consumer research found that there were fewer queues due to faster payments: the average contactless transaction is 0.5 seconds compared to three to ten seconds for chip and PIN, with cash transactions taking even longer.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that festivals are going contactless, after all, according to Barclaycard, one-in-three consumers use contactless at least once a week and the UKCA has tracked its influence on our spending habits – we make lower-value payments but more frequently, avoiding big weekly shops.



As more shops and supermarkets embrace contactless, this behaviour will spread.

Recent data also showed just how big an impact the increase to £30 contactless spending cap had, with spending using the technology increasing by 173% by value and 112% by volume in the 12 months since. Who knows how big an increase we will see the next time the limit is raised…

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