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The Cashless Payment Trend: Real or Hype?

March 23, 2023

Imagine heading into your hometown sports stadium with family and friends, ready to cheer on your favorite team. You line up to buy snacks before sitting down, and you pull out a $50 bill to pay for the transaction when the cashier informs you that they’ve gone cashless. Cashless?

Many people in this scenario would simply hand over their credit or debit card to get the goods. That’s what the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field is betting on too, as they are rolling out their new system on February 9th that is completely free of cash transactions. In 2018 Tropicana Field ran a pilot program that saw the average transaction time was cut nearly in half than venues that accepted cash for the same exchange. The reports show higher customer satisfaction with the decreased line time, making it a “home run” for the stadium workers and fans alike.

Studies show that most Americans are choosing plastic debit or credit cards over cash, but that doesn’t mean cash is dead just yet. Many households in the United States are still operating unbanked or underbanked, meaning they do not keep their income in a traditional bank or they do not have regular access to credit or debit cards due to limited banking options. This switch is tricky for these people. In an effort to solve this problem, Tropicana Field is offering a “cash-for-gift card” program where people can swap their bills onto a reloadable gift card that can be used within the stadium to make purchases on tickets, food, and memorabilia. Some technicalities are still being ironed out, such as the refund process for money left over on the cards after they leave the stadium.

Will this move isolate fans or draw more in? How do you feel about a cashless stadium? Do you like having the option of cash or card when you’re making purchases?