South African Music Festival Experiments with Cashless NFC Transactions

By Tracey E. Schelmetic July 05, 2011

While music festivals are often places for musical innovation, you seldom look to them for technological experimentation. One festival, South Africa's 17-year-old Oppikoppi Music Festival, will become a testing ground for payment based on Near Field Communication (NFC).

With the help of Standard Bank’s Mimoney’s NFC technology, attendees to the music festival will be able to operate entirely cash-free, instead carrying an “Oppikoppi card” that can be pre-loaded with money from stations set up around the festival area. The stations will accept cash, credit and debit cards, or mimoney, reported Mimoney a kind of electronic cash service in South Africa that allows users to shop via their mobile phones with credits instead of credit cards or cash. Mimoney can be sent to a cell phone using electronic funds transfer, with cash or a debit card or through online banking.

The festival's organizers are hoping that the NFC experiment will cause a decrease in cash theft and long lines at the beer and other concession tents.

Herman Singh, CEO of Standard Banks Beyond Payments, told MoneyWeb that the idea behind the NFC payment systems is to simplify the consumers spending. “We believe that Unknown Brother [the pilot program's name] provides the ideal opportunity to introduce the concept [of NFC payments] -- the convenience factor of the Oppikoppi card will mean an enhanced festival experience for visitors,” said Singh.

He added that “NFC is the way of the future and after its introduction at Oppikoppi, we foresee it becoming a popular payment method in many other contexts.”

NFC technology, expected to be an up and coming thing, allows for simplified transactions, data exchanges and connections with a touch. The Near Field Communication Forum is a group that organized in 2004 to promote sharing, pairing and transactions between NFC devices. The Group develops and certifies device compliance with NFC standards. Members include LG, Nokia, Huawei, HTC, Motorola, NEC, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, AT&T, Sprint, Rogers, SK, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Intel, TI, Qualcomm and NXP.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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