As featured in NCC Parks Business Winter Issue 2019
The Pound no longer in your pocket … how far away is the cashless society?
In Back to the Future 2 Dr. Emmett Brown says to Marty McFly "I have to be prepared for all monetary possibilities." but the iconic film did not predict the incredible change in how the use of cash would decline in modern society. We are long past the furthest Marty and the Doc went into the future and, while we don’t have hover boards, the way we pay for everyday goods has changed dramatically.
For people living in urban areas, living a cashless life has fast become the norm. Contactless payments, Apple pay, Google pay, mobile banking and challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling Bank are all fuelling the continued switch towards a cashless society.
Data from earlier this year suggests that the use of cash is set to plummet in the next decade and with contactless payments continuing to rise for smaller transactions, cashless living seems set to flourish as we move into the next decade of the 21st Century.
As the number of banks on the high street continues to decline and digital payments become the norm for many consumers the pound is rarely found in their pockets but what does this mean for parks?
At Ramtech Electronics, we work with parks across the UK to deploy wireless solutions so we understand the challenges that parks can face in terms of delivering effective, reliable connectivity across diverse sites which is often the lifeblood enabling cashless systems to work. Becoming cashless can seem daunting in the face of such challenges but embracing this technology can simplify park life.
Low power radio networks can be used to provide secure connections that can work without cellular or Wi-Fi connection. They can also offer reassurance that your connections are safer from the threat of open networks. This means that even the most remote park can consider their options for connectivity.
Holidaymakers are often used to not having cash in their pocket so arriving at a park with limited facilities to pay can get a break off on the wrong foot. By offering guests easy ways to pay can increase the uptake of services you offer at the park. By adopting mobile credit card machines such as iZettle, SumUp, Square or Paypal Here it’s even easier for cards to be used throughout your park. These offer benefits of allowing you to accept card payments almost anywhere without the need for a dedicated chip and pin machine, merchant account or expensive machine rental contract.
While each system has its own pros and cons, such as minimum payment transactions and card fees, by improving the availability of card readers in your park it’s straightforward for guests to make additional purchases without worrying about needing cash. These secure systems are designed to be flexible, but they can come with higher fees so it’s important to consider every aspect of your business’s needs as well as the affordability of the fees.
An example of a positive use of this technology this could be in a park’s shop. As a result of the contract and hire charges with traditional chip and pin systems, some parks rely on centrally located card readers in key areas such as reception or bars and restaurants, by providing a mobile card reader in these locations smaller purchases can quickly add up through a holiday stay.
These mobile systems can also be used to provide straight-forward bookings on the move such as at holiday shows or promotional events as well as providing a useful back up in the event of a primary reader being unavailable ensuring that your business is always ready for your guests.
Offering accessible cashless payment systems for guests is only part of the business story. Improving cashless payments across the business can support business growth. By using automated billing systems and digital payments, it’s easy to ensure your park’s bills are accurate and up to date. Streamlining your business in this way can save you both time and money.
An example of this is Ramtech’s Smart Meter module which allows you to access data from electricity, gas and water meters centrally so you can issue accurate bills to your customers electronically. This can speed up business cashflow and give your customers confidence that their budget is balanced too.
Another example of a truly forward-thinking cashless approach is at Centerparcs. At their Woburn Forest location they have successfully adopted the use of innovative wristband technology as lodge keys, locker access but also for payments. The preloaded wristband is used throughout the site and once the holiday is over, remaining funds can be transferred back to the original source such as a debit card. Powered by Barclaycard, the BPay wristband is waterproof meaning it is always suitable for use offering increased flexibility than a traditional payment card.
Adopting such advanced technology is not always straightforward for all businesses but this product innovation is sure to ease the switch to cashless parks as the technology becomes more affordable in future.
Whether it's making life straightforward for your guests or growing your business, it’s clear that understanding the impact of the cashless society is an important part of your future business planning so make sure your business is ready to adopt cashless living.