Case Study: Transforming payments at Festival No. 6 | DMA

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Case Study: Transforming payments at Festival No. 6

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Sthaler needed a partner to rapidly build a biometric cashless payment system to improve festival-goer experience and reduce the fraud and time associated with cash transactions

Mvine Solution

Mvine for Identity, Access and Payment provides Sthaler with a secure and intelligent platform that stores identities, initiates eWallet transactions and provides the merchant with data insights never seen before.

“The Mvine platform widens the potential for Hitachi Finger Vein Technology as an authentication tool for cloud-based integrated solutions.”
Nick Dryden, Sthaler, CEO


Features and benefits

- Rich personal profiles
- Integration with payment and identity systems
- Rapid deployment
- Transactions optimised for wireless networks
- 30 second registration process
- Eliminated 10% cost of cash at festivals
- Improved bar efficiency by 2
- Significantly reduced queuing times
- Improved security for both organisers and attendees

The Platform for Securing Digital Identities

Mvine for Access and Identity is a secure and intelligent cloud-based platform that integrates easily and securely with third-party solutions. Taking advantage of the latest identity and payment technologies becomes straightforward for cashless payment services such as the Fingopay by Sthaler.

By using digital finger vein templates to identify festival goers, payment transactions can be initiated safe-in-the-knowledge that the payment is always legitimate. Meanwhile, festival goers can enjoy their weekend free from worries about pick-pockets and with less time wasted in queues.

Cash costs, time and money

Music festivals have become an essential part of the British summer. Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight Festival, Reading and Leeds: festivals see tens of thousands of people pass through their gates each day.

Over recent years festival organisers have been looking for ways to make festivals a cashless affair. Nick Dryden, CEO at payment systems provider Sthaler and avid festival goer, explains why:

“Fraud, counterfeiting and the processing of cash at a festival site costs over ten percent of the total take. In addition the festival organiser has no visibility of who attended, what they did while they were there and how much they spent, they don’t have the data-driven insight they need to personalise the event for attendees and make the weekend even more enjoyable.”

Cash also makes life difficult for the festival goer, Nick adds:

“You can queue for up to an hour at cash machines and yet again to swap that money for beer tokens, then again when you get to the bar.”

Where it all started

September 2012 saw Portmeirion host its inaugural music festival – Festival No. 6. Over 30,000 attended the three-day event. Many camped out overnight, waking to the stunning views of Snowdonia.

Working in partnership with British Telecom (BT) and Hitachi, Sthaler sought a new solution that would surpass the cashless solutions that had been implemented at festivals during recent years. Nick comments:

“Near Field Communication works really well at festivals but it takes the PIN out of the payment process. When you take the PIN out of Chip and PIN there is no security anymore.”

With Hitachi providing the identity system and BT providing the payment system, Chris Hurst, Head of Security Services at BT, recommended the Mvine platform as a framework for the solution:

“We recommended the Mvine platform based on our past experience of working with Mvine who came with a pedigree and history of providing high levels of security. We knew we could rely on Mvine to ensure the safety of payment transactions initiated through our BT Thistle Secure Payment service.”

The Mvine platform had one other key advantage: it provided a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that could be enhanced to meet the specific needs of the festival.

Integration made simple

The team at Mvine developed the solution in less than four weeks. At the front end it integrates easily and securely with Hitachi Finger Vein Technology to upload finger vein templates.

“The Mvine platform widens the potential for Hitachi Finger Vein Technology as an authentication tool for cloud-based integrated solutions.”

At the back end it integrates easily and securely with the BT Thistle Secure Payment web service to store card details and initiate payment transactions. With the solution deployed out in the field and dependant on a temporary wireless network, the Mvine development team optimised all calls between the three systems, ensuring all payment transactions were robust and reliable. The Mvine team also developed a bespoke interface for the bar tills.

“The bar tills were dual screen, on one screen the Mvine team replicated the physical tills that would normally take the cash. The second screen displayed a list of drinks as customers ordered them.”

Queues shortened at Festival No. 6

Specifically implemented for the VIP bar, more than 300 artists, managers, sponsors and members of the press registered their finger veins during the festival. VIPs were asked to register online before the event, but even for those that didn’t, the registration process was quick and simple.

“Registration took 30 seconds for those that had registered online and for those that didn’t it took no more than five minutes. People were interested to talk about the technology and in every case registration was quicker than the conversation,” comments Nick.


Fingopay by Sthaler, as the solution is known today, provided significant time savings for both festival goers and bar tenders. During the three-day event more than 2,000 bar transactions were successfully completed by twelve bar tenders across six tills. Nick reveals:

“At the bar we improved efficiency by around 25 percent. The shorter queues meant that over the weekend attendees spent a couple of hours less queuing and enjoying the music instead.”

The intelligence engine inside Mvine provided festival organisers with the visibility they had previously lacked. Organisers used this insight to analyse spending habits and identify fraud: the bar vouchers that had gone missing were quickly traced.

The wider potential of Fingopay

From the feedback Sthaler received at Portmeirion it was clear that the solution potentially has a wider application. Fingopay has evolved since the festival. Nick notes:

“Today Fingopay turns your finger into a digital key that allows you to identify yourself, pay for goods and services and gain access to events.”

Sthaler is working on behalf of festival owners who currently sell their tickets through third parties and receive no data in return. Fingopay, underpinned by Mvine, will provide the visibility they need.

“The Mvine platform can help us change the digital workflow of the festival. The whole thing becomes visible for the organiser.”

Used widely across a festival Fingopay could provide intelligent insight that could be used in a multitude of ways. For example, through understanding the spending habits of attendees, organisers could deliver personalised promotions.

And with ticket touting a major concern in the music industry, Nick believes that Fingopay will help stamp out the illegal practice.

“The secondary ticketing market is a massive fraudulent industry that is there because you can’t identify where tickets are going. With Fingopay finger tickets and the intelligence provided by the Mvine platform we can enable fans to buy the tickets they want and authorise the migration of those tickets to friends. At the same time we can identify where tickets are going. The Mvine platform is a very capable bit of technology”


About Mvine
Mvine is a leading provider of Portals and Portal Solutions, providing secure and easy-to-use workspaces in the cloud for organisations across a wide range of public and private sectors. Our combination of Software-as-a-Service technology and professional services allow some of the best known brands to work safely outside the firewall with partners, clients and suppliers.

Mvine’s home page is www.mvine.com

About Sthaler
In partnership with BT and Hitachi, Sthaler provides an end-to-end payment solution from consumer at PoS (Point of Sale) to their bank accounts, credit cards and/or stored value accounts (SVA). Its payments system uses Hitachi's Finger Vein Technology and only works if the card holder is biologically present to make the payment.

Sthaler’s home page is www.sthaler.com

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