Mobile Payments, Debit Cards, Credit Cards New Lay of the Land at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

March 7, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve seen mobile payments over the years step into a great many arenas, in some cases literal arenas. Stadiums, too; in fact, that’s just what happened recently with Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, as word emerged that, after March 10, only credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments systems would be accepted therein.

The move was called a cost-savings measure, as with the move, the costs associated with taking cash—like bank runs, reconciling accounts and operating physical cash drawers—would be removed as well. Transaction times would likewise be improved—we’ve already seen efforts on that front take shape, allowing customers to place orders from their seats for later pickup—and concession booths and the like would be able to alter their price structures as needed.

Considering the issue fully might lead some to wonder, what about those without credit or debit cards, or mobile payments systems, particularly the oft-cited “underbanked”? Well, those folks would have options as well: the stadium was bringing in about 10 different machines that would let users exchange cash for a prepaid Visa debit card.

Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is starting this up at a good time; the stadium’s going into its soccer season right now, which means lower traffic than during the Atlanta Falcons football season. With this news in place, it means that the stadium will be able to test out its cashless system before it has to go into the widest possible release with it. Any issues that might require changes will be able to be modified accordingly early on.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about events like this; just recently, the Detroit Lions brought some upgrades in during the Ford Field renovations, and even the Super Bowl saw new mobile payments systems brought into play ahead of the big game.

It would be easy here to be concerned, especially for the underbanked as mentioned earlier who would effectively be aced out of an entire pastime. But with the prepaid cards provided—especially if these are available without fees—the transition should be relatively eventless. There are also some real advantages here; paper cash is dirty, and probably the last thing anyone wants around food.

In the end, this should be a smooth transition, and it’s hard to fight a smooth transition when one arrives.