How to Take Card Payments at Festivals

How to Take Card Payments at Festivals
The festival industry is booming, with events drawing millions of attendees each year. As card payments continue to dominate the payments landscape, here's how to ensure you're able to accept card payments of all kinds at your next festival.
by Eric Rosenberg Jul 10, 2024 — 3 min read
How to Take Card Payments at Festivals

The festival industry is booming, with events drawing millions of attendees each year. From music and food festivals to craft fairs and cultural celebrations, the demand for these vibrant gatherings is on the rise. The global festival market is projected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by increasing consumer interest in unique experiences and social activities. In 2024, music events worldwide are expected to generate more than $34 billion in revenue, with an expected growth rate of over 2% through 2028. Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival generated more than $40 million alone from its 2023 event.

For businesses participating in these events, it’s crucial to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and expectations, particularly when it comes to payment methods. Here’s a look at the best ways to accept card payments at festivals.

Benefits of taking card payments at festivals

Accepting card payments at festivals significantly enhances the customer experience by providing a convenient alternative to cash. In addition to allowing visitors to avoid carrying large wallets, the convenience of card payments encourages more spontaneous purchases and streamlines the checkout process, reducing long lines and transaction times and adding another layer of security compared to cash.

The Federal Reserve shared that cash transactions often take around four to five seconds longer to process than card transactions. Going cashless leads to as much as a 15% increase in transaction volume.

Ways to take card payments at festivals

Unlike slow cash transactions, which can only be handled manually in most situations, checking out with a card payment is fast and flexible.

Tap to Pay

Tap and go payments  are a simple, user-friendly payment method that allows customers to make contactless payments using their cards or mobile devices. For businesses that use Tap to Pay on iPhone or Tap to Pay on Android via Square, the road to accepting payments is quick, easy, and seamless. With the free Square point-of-sale app, businesses just have to enable Tap to Pay on iPhone or Tap to Pay on Android and then add an item or key in an amount. From there, the customer holds their device near the contactless symbol, and once approved, the transaction is complete. No additional hardware is required, which helps ensure quick and secure transactions.

Point-of-sale system

A powerful point-of-sale system that allows a variety of card payments is a must. For customers who still prefer to use their chip cards to customers who prefer to pay with their phones, a flexible POS system makes it easier to maximize your ability to bring in revenue. The Square POS system is a comprehensive tool that tracks every component pertinent to making a transaction. From tracking inventory levels to managing employee activities, the Square POS system helps you understand performance so you can make any necessary adjustments to maximize your business’s chance for success, maintain efficient operations, and enhance the customer experience.

On-the-go tools

Handy, on-the-go tools reduce the need for bulky hardware that can clutter your space and simplify the process of taking card payments. Square Terminal allows businesses to easily accept a variety of payments on a powerful, portable all-in-one device. It also offers the option to print receipts and sell offline, making it easy and efficient to set up and use, even in areas with limited connectivity.

For businesses that plan to move from one location to the next throughout a festival or live event, the Square Reader can also be beneficial by adding more flexibility for your business with minimal disruption to your services. With the ability to accept chip and contactless payments and process receipts like any other hardware, the Square Terminal is an efficient addition to businesses of all sizes.

Maximize accepting payments at festivals

Taking card payments can boost a business’s ability to make sales by catering to a broader audience and increasing the likelihood of larger ticket sizes and upselling opportunities. In the dynamic festival environment, quick and efficient transaction processing reduces the chance of missed sales due to cash shortages or the inconvenience of making change. This efficiency not only translates into higher sales volume and greater revenue but also provides valuable data on customer behavior and preferences, helping businesses tailor their offerings to better meet the needs of festivalgoers.

Savvy festival organizers can explore Square payment offerings to learn how to streamline their events while meeting customer expectations. Implementing the best festival payment solutions can help enhance customer satisfaction, increase sales, and ensure smooth, efficient operations.

Eric Rosenberg
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California.


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