CaixaBank, Spain’s leading retail bank, and RCD Espanyol de Barcelona have joined forces to make the RCDE stadium the first cashless stadium in Spain.
This innovative project has been jointly developed and enables fans to make all the necessary steps and purchases through its quick, secure and integrated mobile app. From now on, fans will never have to carry cash (or cards) when heading to the stadium.
The app, which will be available in the coming 15 days, is designed as a step forward in how we experience football matches. This is why it is available to anyone, whether season ticket holders or spectators, regardless of the bank or bank cards they may use. In order to make the experience even easier, quick pick-up points have been set up for all food and drink and merchandising purchases made through the app. In this way, the RCDE Stadium is the first football ground in Spain to offer completely cashless access to its facilities and services.
On the presentation of the mobile app, Agustín Filomeno, marketing and retail director at RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, underlines that the project offers fans the possibility to carry out "any operation they may want, from checking match information to not having to carry cash, as everything can be done from the app. In fact, the app is designed so that fans don’t have to bring their paper season ticket to the stadium, enabling them to access the grounds with their mobile or, if they can't make it, transfer their ticket to another fan in just a couple of clicks."
María Alsina, CaixaBank area manager for Barcelona, highlights that "the new app aims to help get fans into the stadium easily and comfortably, having made prior reservations for all desired services and enjoying them during the match without having to worry whether they're carrying enough cash or the right cards on them". In her opinion, "this development is a example of how CaixaBank drives customer-focused innovation projects."
CaixaBank's area manager also explains that the bank "works closely with all clubs it has sponsorship agreements with to promote initiatives that improve user experience for fans. This is an initial step to expanding offers in the marketplace for clubs and improving fan-club interaction", concludes Alsina.
One of football's first apps with an integrated e-wallet
The basis for the project focused on creating the new official app available for iOS and Android. It should be highlighted that it is one of the first football club apps in the world with an integrated e-wallet, meaning a wide range of retail options can be found in one place instead of in standalone apps.
The services available on the new app include all those fans may need when coming to the stadium, such as purchasing products from Aramark - the catering firm at RCD Espanyol de Barcelona - or buying official club merchandise. The app also includes having your ticket on your mobile or transferring your season pass to another fan digitally and securely.
The catering feature includes Aramark's full selection at the RCDE Stadium and users can make an order and select a pick-up time that suits them. The app asks users which section they will be in and displays the nearest outlets. Customers select the pick-up point and can head to the outlet to collect their food and drinks from the Click&Collect area at each stadium bar without having to queue up.
For official club merchandise, users can place orders and pick them up at the shop or have them delivered to their door. The app's online shop offers all official RCD Espanyol de Barcelona products, with real photos and detailed descriptions.
In terms of accessing the stadium, any fan can turn their mobile into a valid e-ticket thanks to a QR code generated by the app. The system can be used for one-off or season tickets. In this way, your mobile becomes your official club pass, and season ticket holders do not need to bring the physical copy.
Moreover, if you want to transfer your ticket to another fan, this can be done digitally, from app to app.
The app also offers fans constant updates about the club with news in real-time, updated sports events and even specialised info such as player profiles and statistics.
Cashless goal: digital payments for a better user experience
For CaixaBank, the project developed alongside RCD Espanyol de Barcelona is in line with its interest to work on innovative initiatives linked to user experience - one of the key goals in its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan - and its push towards cashless projects linked to new digital payment methods.
In fact, CaixaBank is currently the leading bank in Spain for mobile payments, with a 1.3 million customers using this system and over 100,000 using smart watchers and wearables to make payments. The firm is also the leading player in card payments, with over 17 million cards in circulation and a 23.7% market share for purchases and a 28% share of retail POS systems.
Although the app has been jointly designed with RCD Espanyol de Barcelona is the first cashless project for the Spanish sports sector, the bank has also promoted other initiatives linked to digital payments, such as Morella Cashless City in 2018 aimed at driving take-up of digital and mobile payments at local businesses in Morella (Castellón), and the Pamplona Cashless City initiative that aimed to boost the use of physical (cards) and digital (mobile, cards, wearables, etc.) payments in the city and reduce the use of cash for small purchases.
CaixaBank, the bank for football clubs
The project is also down to CaixaBank's involvement with the institutions it sponsors, with a view to collaborating on exclusive fan experiences and offers that help businesses attract and retain customers, while boosting brand awareness.
This strategy is particularly clear for football where CaixaBank is a benchmark firm for clubs. The bank currently sponsors 17 Division One and 13 Division Two teams, providing a presence across Spain.
Since 2011, when a specific strategy was put into place to boost the bank's sponsorship profile, CaixaBank has issued 200,000 cards linked to its sponsored clubs, attracted 25,000 customers to set up direct salary deposits and financed 50,000 season tickets with a view to retaining this customer group and bring clubs more in line with their needs and interests.