The Mercedes-Benz Stadium will become the first professional North American stadium to implement a cashless transaction and payments model.
Beginning with Atlanta United FC‘s home opener on March 10, the cashless model aims to increase efficiency, allow for more flexible pricing and enhance the overall event day experience.
The 2019 Super Bowl host will now only accept credit and debit cards, along with other mobile payment methods; the move seeks to eliminate costs of handling cash – including security, physical cash drawers and reconciliation.
Physical money might still be accepted for merchandise sales during non-Falcons or United events but the cashless transaction policy will apply to food and beverage sales at all stadium events.
To accommodate those who might not want to take part in cashless transactions, the stadium will have at least 10 machines located around the stadium where customers can insert cash between $10 and $1,000 and receive a prepaid Visa debit card.
There are no transactional fees to access these cards and any leftover balance can be spent elsewhere, as long as Visa is accepted at the merchant.
Steve Cannon, CEO of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United parent company AMB Group, which operates the stadium, said: “Everything we saw in 2018 gave us the confidence to make the decision to become a cash-free stadium.
“For us, this is all about speed of service. This move to cashless will allow us to transact at a higher level and satisfy demand when demand is there.”
AMB Group also announced it would lower prices on some food items along with two promotions that are being released with the cashless switch.
SunTrust Bank is offering 5% cashback on all products purchased inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium using its cards, excluding tickets and parking.
Apple Pay’s mobile-payments service will provide users will receive instant rewards on purchases inside the venue.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is not the only major North American sports facility to announce the switch to cashless payments.
In January, Major League Baseball team Tampa Bay Rays announced that their home stadium – Tropicana Field – will become a cash-free sports venue from the start of the 2019 season.