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At festivals, wristbands are the new credit cards

Major fests let you leave your wallet at home, but should you?

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It’s easier than ever to spend money at major music festivals and sporting events. Now, the wristbands that allow your entry double as your credit card – just tap your wrist for every purchase.

Wristbands as payment methods are becoming the norm at major festivals. All you have to do is preload the band with your credit card information, choose a PIN number that you’ll remember, and then head to the big event.

“I love it because you don’t need to worry about having cash or cards or getting them stolen, which is pretty awful,” says Olivia Liebman, a college student and 2016 Austin City Limits festival attendee. “It’s that peace of mind when you’re inside.”

You’ll still want to bring some form of alternative payment along, just in case a glitch in technology leaves you hungry and empty-handed.

“I always bring cash just in case, because one year it didn’t work,” says Karen Clifford, who has attended ACL for the past 15 years.

Even with potential glitches, most festival-goers rave about this new payment option, as it makes the long lines move a lot faster when cashiers don’t need to count coins for every purchase.

With each wristband purchase, you’ll receive a receipt in your email almost immediately, a little reminder of how much you’re spending as you rock out.

So does the ease of use make you spend more? Festival-goers say that’s entirely up to you.

“Potentially you may spend more, but that’s really up to the individual and the limit they set for themselves,” says Liebman. “It’s really no different than having your credit card with you.”

Another longtime ACL attendee, Candy Schrull, agrees. “I just found it easier when I was in the food line or was purchasing something, but I don’t think I spent any more than I normally would.”

While the convenience of the wristband may be no different from that of a credit card, both forms of payment might make it easier to give in to that urge to impulse-buy. If you want to make sure you stay within your budget, veteran festival-goers suggest the best way to manage a music festival or sporting event may be the old-school way: Tuck some cash in a fanny pack, and spend only what you bring.

See related: At music festivals, cashless is all the rageRetailers cash in on booming mobile card reader adoption, No card, no problem: Pay with your ring, watch or bracelet

Published: October 27, 2016


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Updated: 12-03-2016


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