Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Accepting credit card payment at high school concessions stands isn't that complicated, or expensive.
Making a switch can be as intimidating as it is exciting: be it Alex Rodriguez switching from MLB to broadcasting, Michael Jordan switching from basketball to baseball then back to basketball, or the Tennessee Titans players switching to open a Gigi’s Cupcakes franchise, changes can often be associated with new opportunities and potential growth. Within the realm of sports and live events, one change is also happening: mobile payment for concessions.
Understandably, there has been hesitation around accepting a new form of payment (or even moving away from cash entirely!). Be it concerns around cost, time, effort, or simply inertia resisting change...we've all been there.
That's why in this blog we are here to answer some common misconceptions about adopting non-cash payment methods at high school concession stands, and hopefully this will give you more context to decide whether cash is still the best for your school.
Editor’s note: You can also read our blog about why high schools can no longer rely solely on cash.
Myth 1: Credit Processing Is Expensive
While credit card transaction carries a transaction fee, consumers tend to spend more using their cards than with cash, which more than compensates the fees incurred. A study conducted by MIT about consumer behaviors found that those told they could pay by credit card were willing to pay twice as much as those who had to pay in cash. After all, with cash a consumer can only spend the money physically present in their wallet. This is not to mention the ease of digital transactions, which also makes it more likely for consumers to purchase multiple times, since each transaction is conducted so effortlessly.
This corresponds to what we’ve found in the space of stadium concessions. Credit card solutions have led to people placing more orders and larger orders on average, and they don’t have to check twice whether they have enough cash on hand at all. In the context of concessions, a lot of the purchase decisions are made impulsively on the spot (when fans smell the sizzling burgers or see a kid walking by with popcorn). That means the more frictionless a transaction experience is, the more likely consumers will be to make a purchase.
Myth 2: Most Customers Carry Cash
When was the last time you paid for your groceries, your dinner or filled your gas tank with cash? Granted, some people would still always carry cash to feel secure, but a recent Bankrate survey revealed that 50% of Americans say they carry cash with them less than half of the time.
In FanFood’s survey of high school fans’ purchasing behavior, we found that the vast majority of people still carry cash when attending a high school sports event. However, 73.6% responded that they would like a mobile ordering solution that could handle card payments as well. The status quo is soon going to be obsolete, and fans are already clamoring for a change.
Myth 3: Fraud Is Less of a Problem With Cash
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For example, most high schools (where cash is still the last bastion of concessions payment) experience cash being stolen during and after a game. Thousands of dollars were reported missing last year at booster groups in the U.S. that raise an average $23,000 each, according to the National Booster Club Association. A former treasurer at Revere All Sports Booster Club was once convicted of stealing nearly $140,000. But for most booster clubs in the country, that lost money can never be traced.
Myth 4: Cash Is Easier for Customers
That is, until mobile ordering swooped in and completely changed people’s food ordering behaviors (think UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates, and countless others). It’s also way easier for families at the game to place one large order for everyone through one account with just a single transaction, or for parents to link their children’s accounts to their credit card and pay for their food directly from the phone.
Myth 5: Adding Payment Methods Is Expensive
Payment with cards needs a POS system (which, by the way, FanFood already integrates in the platform so you don't have to worry about that piece), and there is a cost (e.g. transaction fee) associated with accepting credit cards. But the fees and costs associated with processing credit cards are actually far less than you might expect. Why? Fierce competition among merchant providers drives down prices and keeps fees low.
If you want a deeper dive into fee comparisons of different credit card plans, here’s a blog talking about accepting credit cards as a small business.
Myth 6. Adding Card Processing Is Slow
This can’t be further from the truth. If you are using the point-of-sale system provided by FanFood, you don’t even need to open a merchant account. We can help you set up within a day and the whole process is very intuitive.
Myth 7. Cash Transactions Are Faster
We have an entire blog talking about how this is not true at all. In fact, cash transactions is a key factor that creates the notorious long lines and long wait time at concession stands. That not only leads to discounted fan experience, but also means you are missing out on a lot of revenue as a result of a lower sales volume.
While it may sound like accepting credit card payment is the panacea for all problems and cash is good for nothing, this blog is by no means about that. In fact, we don’t encourage you to completely switch to cashless, card-only concession operations at your high school, since it’s simply unrealistic and impractical at this point. However, we do recognize that single payment method is soon not going to work anymore, as indicated by both the changing consumer behavior and a shift in the sports industry towards “going cashless.”