Principality Stadium and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have announced that the Cardiff venue will move towards becoming a cashless facility, as it prepares to host its first game in the 2020 Six Nations tournament.

Wales take on Italy to open their Six Nations campaign on Saturday and officials have said the match will mark Principality Stadium making a “significant move” towards becoming a cashless venue, in direct response to consumer purchasing habits.

Principality Stadium said that in recent years the venue has seen an increase in the use of card payments at point of purchase across its 65 food & beverage (F&B) units, to the extent that the Wales and Wales Women double-header against the Barbarians at the end of last year saw either a debit or credit card used for 85% of all transactions made.

However, fans will still be able to pay by cash at eight F&B units within the stadium. Tracey Maxwell, general manager of Principality Stadium Experience, said: “We have never felt the need to enforce cashless at Principality Stadium preferring to be led by our consumers. Once they felt comfortable with a variety of payment methods and it’s clear that the number of card payments has increased, we have converted more units.”

WRU chief executive, Martyn Phillips, said the cashless switch continues a policy of embracing and reacting to supporter feedback, citing Principality Stadium’s Alcohol Free Zone (AFZ) as an example. In July, the WRU confirmed that the AFZ would remain in place following a successful trial period.

The WRU first launched the initiative during Wales’ autumn internationals against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa in November 2018. Hundreds of thousands of fans were polled on the merits of the zone, with some 40,000 fans purchasing specified tickets for the area.

An enhanced and upgraded zone is now a permanent fixture at all WRU-owned events at Principality Stadium, starting from Wales’ match against the Barbarians in November. Existing debenture holders have been given the chance to relocate to the new area, which has a capacity of 4,200.

“We are determined to listen to our visitors and examine all available options to continue to improve our customer experience,” said Phillips. “The AFZ trial is a great example of our modern iconic stadium reacting to feedback and finding a workable solution which caters for a varying range of supporter requirements and ‘going cashless’ is a further extension of this responsive attitude to our customers.”

Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency