Leading bank-independent electronic solutions provider Cardnet and Hungary’s top festival organizer Sziget LLC. have launched a joint company.
This unique initiative combines the experience of the internationally renowned festival organizer with the expertise of the cashless payment provider. The new company will aim to become a key player not only in Europe, but also worldwide.
Over the past five years there has been a marked shift in payment habits in both the Hungarian and the international festival markets. When Sziget introduced cashless payments via festival cards in 2010, it was a world first. Five years later, over 90 percent of Hungary’s top festivals were all cashless. At the 2015 Sziget Festival Festipay cards, along with MasterCard contactless cards, were used over 2.4 million times, while Telekom VOLT Festival and Balaton Sound have seen their number of contactless transactions nearly double from the previous year.
Sziget CEO Károly Gerendai said: “Our festivals keep growing in popularity every year: in 2015, Sziget Festival alone welcomed 441 thousand visitors. At this point, having a fast and reliable payment solution that allows us to fully satisfy our visitors’ demands is critical. Fortunately, thanks to all the innovative work that has gone into the solution, cashless payments have gone from being a convenience to being viewed as a basic requirement by festivalgoers towards organizers. We are bringing our decades of experience gained in organizing festivals to this joint venture, so that Festipay Ltd. can develop and provide a widely applicable solution that meets the needs and wants of both organizers and festivalgoers both within and beyond our local market.
Three festivals using Festipay’s cashless solutions have brought home an award at this year’s European Festival Awards. Sziget Festival won the award for Best Line-Up, Telekom VOLT Festival won Best Medium Size Festival and Romania’s Untold was selected as Best Major Festival.
“5 years ago we started out with cashless payments, but now we need to go further and provide even more value: convenient and secure mobile apps, exciting new features, self-service machines, and integration with ticketing and access control, so that festivalgoers have an even better time at these events. And merchants are no longer looking for simply a new payment method, they want new ways to reach customers with engaging marketing campaigns,” said Festipay President Dr. János Kóka. “We are putting everything that Cellum and Cardnet have learned over the past 15 years into this great new product, allowing us to be as successful in digital services as Sziget has been in organizing festivals,” he added.
Festipay is preparing for the 2016 festival season with new developments. Following a successful debut at the 2015 Sziget Festival, the Festipay app is being expanded with a new function: users will be able to top up their Festipay cards from a bank card registered in the app. Another new feature will allow festivalgoers to top up their cards by visiting Festipay machines - similar to ATMs - on the premises of the festival.
“The majority of Hungarian festival organizers have already chosen us, but we need to keep growing,” said Cardnet CEO László Márki. “Last year we serviced Untold, which was selected as Europe’s Best Major Festival, and Delta Festival in Marseille, and building on this we are launching at new events in Western Europe and in the Balkans. This already puts us in the top 10 in Europe. But we are also receiving inquires from East Asia, where the joint venture of Sziget and Cardnet can add tremendous value to the newly emerging culture of festivals,” he added.