Apple Pay Brings Mobile Payments Testing to Music Festival

June 6, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

If you needed any kind of proof that mobile order-ahead is catching on, and the increasing use of such services at places like McDonald’s wasn’t doing it for you, consider recent news from Apple Pay, who plans to bring mobile order-ahead options to the upcoming BottleRock music festival in Napa Valley.

Those who use Apple Pay at BottleRock this year will be able to use the festival’s app to spot a concession stand of choice, and then place an advance order for drinks therein. Paying by Apple Pay, the customer can then pick up the order at a specific window, where lines—if there are even any to begin with—will flow much more rapidly.

BottleRock is no stranger to Apple Pay testing; last year, all the concession stands at the event accepted Apple Pay via Square point-of-sale terminals. Specific “fast lanes” were set up for the Apple Pay users, and Apple itself noted almost one in three transactions at the event were made by Apple Pay.

Apple Pay has made noteworthy gains in the last year; total transactions have tripled on the last year, Apple noted, and active users have doubled in the same time frame.

Apple’s reports of doubling and tripling are sound enough in their way, but we have to keep in mind the base that those doublings and triplings are made over. Here I remember a Married With Children episode featuring Al’s attempt at a pay-hotline for shoes. When faced with his call numbers from the day—a whopping zero—he defiantly roared a challenge to all who doubted him: “None today! Tomorrow, twice as many!”. Big percentage increases, 100 percent, 200 percent, are all fine and well, but if they’re increases on a trivial base, the end result doesn’t end nearly as well as anyone would like.

It’s still early days for the entire mobile payments industry, and Apple Pay is included in that. It’s gaining ground, and that does wonders for its credibility, but it’s not likely to be the new cash any time soon. It’s offering an alternative that its users in the Apple walled garden seem happy with, though—at music festivals and beyond—and that’s good news for Apple regardless of the overall numbers.