Ahead of the last home match against Burnley, the club announced a phased roll-out, with the kiosk on the north side in east upper, and the middle catering kiosks in all other home concourses taking credit or debit card payments only, moving forward.
The new model relies on the speedy contactless form of payment and has already begun to speed up transaction times by almost half at the Amex, enabling Albion fans to benefit from shorter queue times.
Head of catering and events Andrew Boon explained, “The average transaction time for a card payment, including both contactless and chip and pin, was on average 52% of the time of a cash transaction. Our research showed that this would halve the transaction time, and these numbers bear this out.
“As expected we also saw a large swing from cash to card at the Burnley game, in the aftermath of the announcement, which is great. Against Burnley this helped us to serve 1673 more customers, and 376 more during the busy half-time periods, compared with the previous match against Southampton.
“The majority of the fan base were already paying by card, but we saw a huge swing, with almost three quarters of the fan base using cards at kiosks. We fully expect to see this increase with every game ahead of our move to a completely cashless stadium in 2020.”
The Amex will become a cashless venue on matchdays from the start of the 2020/21 season at the latest — with the stadium’s catering kiosks, hospitality bars, merchandise store and programme booths switching to card payments only, for all matches and event days, by August 2020 or possibly even sooner.
Speaking earlier this month, chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber explained how the move will benefit fans, “By moving to a totally cashless stadium, we have the opportunity to cut current cash-based service times in half. That’s a huge improvement so it’s easy to see why new stadia are opting to be cashless.
“Improving service times during peak periods and shorter service periods, such as half-time and immediately after the game, will be better for everyone. A cashless stadium also makes things simpler and more secure for us, will reduce costs for Sodexo and for us, and it will ultimately help us keep prices down.
“We appreciate there are those fans who like to pay in cash, but technology is evolving quickly and ultimately we have made this decision to benefit the majority.”
The club has already made a significant investment in its WiFi and point-of-sale infrastructure across the entire stadium in anticipation of this move.
New hardware has been installed and software upgraded, and having been tested at the previous two home matches, the club will begin its phased roll-out in anticipation of a fully cashless stadium by no later than August 2020.