Cashless Events

01 / 09 / 2019

The trend is clear: more and more major events in Switzerland and internationally are shifting to entirely cashless payments. Leading organisers rely on SIX Payment Services - the European pioneer in this demanding sector.


Four years ago, Zurich Openair was the first major festival in Switzerland to adopt cashless ticketing and retail using loadable festival wristbands. With the support of SIX Payment Services, the event organisers went one step further in August 2018 and introduced the “Contactless Cashfree” system: all standard credit and debit cards, as well as major payment apps, were accepted across the entire festival site and at all payment stations. Exactly the same as in shops and businesses, contactless payments under 40 francs were accepted at approximately 200 terminals on the festival site – without PIN or signature.

And naturally Zurich Openair also thought about festival visitors who have no credit or debit card or would prefer not to use them at the festival: in partnership with the credit card company Swisscard, the wow Visa Prepaid Card, which could be loaded quickly and easily with balances from 50 to 250 francs, was offered on-site and free of charge. Functioning exactly like standard credit or debit cards, or a payment app, this card could be used to make simple and convenient payments at points of sale.

Many benefits for organisers, providers and the public

Cashless events offer numerous benefits – for the organisers of major events, for providers and merchants on-site, and for the general public. Visitors can leave their cash safely at home because the providers and merchants on the festival site accept a variety of different cards for every transaction. So even small amounts, i.e. the cost of a single drink, can be processed just as quickly, securely and reliably as larger purchases at the ticket office or in the fan shop. Providers and merchants can offer their customers swift service without waiting times. 

Furthermore, they no longer have to handle large quantities of cash. Giving change, tedious cashing up or organising money transports with security firms are also obsolete. Ultimately organisers of major events can significantly increase the appeal of their events for all those involved by providing an entirely cashless payment infrastructure: increased efficiency at stalls and the assurance of maximum security make visiting a major event – but also working at one – a more pleasant experience.

SIX – official payment partner of Europe’s most popular events

Cashless is currently “state-of-the-art” at major events. As official payment partner, SIX supported numerous sports and culture events in 2018 with this system – or with comparable infrastructures. Renowned major events, such as the legendary Hahnenkamm ski race in Kitzbühel (Austria), Openair Frauenfeld, the Moon&Stars music festival in Locarno, the Gurtenfestival on the local mountain of Berne or Life Ball in Vienna (the largest European benefit event in support of persons diagnosed HIV positive and in the fight against aids), were run entirely without cash. The organisation of further events in the coming months is already in full swing.