Cellum News

European festival season winds down with new highs for cashless payment systems

Sziget 2015Around this time last year we detailed how a consortium including Cellum and its partner firm Cardnet were working together to increase the use of cashless payments at music and art festivals in Central Europe.

Building on this success, the system – known as Festipay – saw significant user growth this year. At the Sziget Festival near Budapest, one of Europe’s best-known music and cultural events, the number of Festipay cards issued was up 16% for the year, breaking the key 100,000 mark for the first time. (The Festipay card system uses both cards and “smart” wristbands, and is aimed at minimizing the risks and costs associated with cash payments, as well as giving the organizers a better ability to monitor payments made to concessionaires.)

More notably, Festipay was expanded to include festivals in new national markets, as well as a range of new capabilities.

Festipay screenshotAs promised last year, 2015 saw the addition of a mobile component, in the form of a Festipay app for Android devices. The app allowed festivalgoers to pair their phones with their cards (in the case of NFC-enabled phones, this could be done with a simple tap), after which they could manage their card data and see their list of purchases. There was also a pilot program allowing users to top-up their Festipay cards via the app. The feature was built using Cellum Plug & Pay, the SDK-based product launched earlier this year giving third-party developers the ability to integrate the company’s ultra-secure and frictionless payment system, along with international processing.

Meanwhile, added to the existing festivals in Central Europe were the Delta Festival in Marseille, France, and the Untold Festival in Cluj, Romania. The further deployment of the system across national borders and in countries with much different levels of financial sector development is seen as a significant achievement, especially given the slow rollouts of most high-profile payment systems in Europe, not least Apple Pay, which continues to be available only in one EU market.

With the curtain just now being drawn on this year’s festival season, development is already underway for next year’s Festipay offering, including features involving reward points and venue access control, where the card or wristband would act as an entry card to events. And just as hundreds of thousands of people are now making Festipay events an annual tradition, we will let you know next September what new innovations were offered to serve them in 2016.