Aston Villa has been announced as the first sports club to adopt the One Card, a new contactless stadium season ticket chip-and-pin card that can be used to make payments.

The One Card is an all-in-one season ticket and member card with contactless payment functionality, with holders able to gain entry to stadiums and purchase items from selected merchants using the card.

Villa, who play at the 43,000-capacity Villa Park, claim to be the first sports team in the world to offer payment capability through a ticket.

The second-tier Championship club believes the introduction of the One Card will improve fan experience while also improving their knowledge of who is visiting its stadium,

Luke Organ, chief commercial officer at Aston Villa, said: “We are committed to giving fans the best experience possible when dealing with the club, either as season ticket holders or members. The new contactless, chip-and-pin technology will ensure that season ticket holders and members can use their card to buy merchandise and refreshments at the ground on match day, or on the high street with our affiliate retail partners – all the time earning Pride Rewards points.

“We are being very proactive in engaging our corporate partners and other high street retailers to join the programme, which will enable them to leverage the strength and buying power of the significant Aston Villa fanbase.”

Technological capability

Developed by tech solutions provider Fortress GB and financial services company Wirecard, the club’s One Card will enable fans to use their season and member cards in the same way as any pre-paid payment card, including contactless payments up to £30, with fans earning Pride Rewards points at a ratio of one point for every pound spent.

Fans will be able to use their cards to enter the stadium, and at all Villa Park payment terminals, including concourses, the ticket office and the Aston Villa Store. In addition, the card will enable fans to shop, both at the online Aston Villa store and on the high street, with a host of affiliate retailers who will be announced in due course.

Only cash loaded on to the card can be used and transactions will work in exactly the same way as a payment card. Pride Rewards accounts are accessed from either a log-in on the Aston Villa website or via the official Aston Villa app and are fully integrated into Fan ID’s.

Organ added: “The incorporation of the latest payment technology is a logical extension of season and fan card technological capability, which will allow the club to improve interaction with its fan base, whilst recognising and rewarding loyalty.

“Once points have been earned, cardholders will be able to redeem their points against a variety of merchandise and offers in the Pride Rewards area of the Villa app, with rewards on offer including apparel, hotel stays, signed and personalised merchandise and exclusive matchday entertainment.”

Fortress GB is partner to more than 130 sports teams and organisations globally, and provides technology such as RFID and NFC to help support game day operations and wider fan engagement activities.

Brian Lawlor, director of sales and business development at Wirecard, said: “The One Card will help speed up sales, creating an attractive proposition for clubs across the UK wanting to offer a top-class service to loyal and dedicated fans.

“UK shoppers have embraced contactless payments and now expect a quick and convenient point of sale transaction, this solution will ensure clubs can deliver and meet exactly this.”