On July 16, 2016, more than 28,000 football fans packed Vienna’s newest and most technologically advanced football venue, the Allianz Stadion, to christen the new venue and see the home team, Rapid Vienna, take on England’s Chelsea Football Club in a pre-season exhibition game.
It was a good match, with Rapid beating Chelsea 2-0, but in some ways the real highlight of the day was the stadium’s virtual currency, the Rapid-Mari€. Instead of using cash or bank cards at the arena to pay for food and drinks, fans now use an innovative contactless payment system that combines cashless transactions with customer loyalty. They use Rapid-Mari€ currency cards to buy refreshments, get receipts and create a history of their orders.
When you attend a match at Allianz Stadion, you receive a Rapid-Mari€ payment card, fitted with a MIFARE DESFire EV1 chip. The card can be topped up at dedicated machines and promoters – people using a mobile app to do so – throughout the stadium, using cash, a credit card or a debit card.
The Rapid-Mari€ cards aren’t personalized, so there’s no risk of identity theft if the card is lost or stolen and because the cards don’t expire, there’s no pressure to spend the total by a certain date. The card’s MIFARE DESFire EV1 chip uses AES encryption to ensure the highest data security and supports NFC, so the cards even work with mobile apps running on smartphones.
To make a payment, simply tap your card to the vendor’s cash register or smartphone and the NFC reader in the vendor’s device deducts the amount from your balance. If you want to add to your balance while you’re placing your order, you can hand cash to the vendor, tap your card to their device and the NFC reader in the device loads the new amount onto your card.
The Allianz Stadion setup, which now involves more than 210 stationary and mobile cash points, was provided by ventopay, the Austrian leading specialist in billing and payment systems for cafeterias, restaurants, hospitals, arenas and other large venues.
The basis of the Allianz Stadion is ventopay’s integrated mocca® payment solution, which includes several mocca® terminals and apps. For example, the mocca.guest is a self-service terminal that issues cashless payment cards and lets attendees add to their balance. There are nine such terminals installed at the stadium. When fans are finished using their cards, they can return them to these mocca.guest terminals for processing, where they get paid out their remaining balance. The cards can also be returned to promotors.
Mobile & fixed payment terminals
The stadium’s 60 mobile cash registers are made possible by mocca.touch.mobile, an app that runs on Android OS devices and uses NFC technology for easy, fast and secure contactless payment. There are 122 fixed-in-place registers that use the mocca.touch software for Rapid-Mari€ payments and top-ups and 30 cash points that have been updated with some of the mocca.touch features that let you add funds to the card. There are also five VIP lounges with additional cash points.
An add-on to the mocca® system, called mocca.app, is a companion app for the Rapid-Mari€ card and runs on your smartphone. This app lets you view your previous food orders and you can see receipts from past purchases. It lets you sign up for personalized information and news about the concession services, with updates on menu items and details on food ingredients and allergens. The mocca.app also includes the mocca.loyalty feature that lets you collect bonus points for which you will get discounts or free products.
Many Austrian businesses are legally required to issue a receipt with a purchase. The mocca.app lets you keep track of your receipts electronically on your phone and you can print receipts while you’re on site at any of the arena’s mocca.guest terminals. The setup meets the necessary legal requirements, while saving paper and reducing the amount of time required for each transaction.
The new system makes it easier for stadium management to respond to consumer needs as they arise. For example, the setup can be used to open up additional cash registers in a given part of the stadium during breaks or to optimize the menus offered by catering services before, during and after the match.
Powered by MIFARE & secure NFC
When designing the Rapid-Mari€ setup, ventopay chose MIFARE DESFire EV1 contactless for several reasons. MIFARE DESFire EV1 offers a true tap-and-go experience, while the inclusion of an up to 8 kB EEPROM memory with fast programming means there’s room enough to support multiple applications. The technology can also be extended to other formats, including wristbands and key fobs, if the venue wants to do so.
A winning solution
The Rapid-Mari€ setup, with its secure, reliable payment scheme and value-added loyalty program has been well received. It enhances the attendee experience by eliminating the need to carry cash and saves time when it comes to making payments and gives fans a new way to enjoy being at the game. Taken as a whole, MIFARE and NFC are helping Austria’s winningest football team extend their in-stadium capabilities and prepare for the future while making game day itself more enjoyable.