Pittsburgh-area amusement parks go cashless for safer summer | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh-area amusement parks go cashless for safer summer

click to enlarge Pittsburgh-area amusement parks go cashless for safer summer
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Kennywood amusement park
This year saw a lot of improvements for Kennywood and its sister parks, Sandcastle Waterpark and Idlewild & SoakZone, including new and returned rides, plus major facility upgrades. At the end of this month, the parks will see another big change when it comes to how guests pay for tickets, food, and more.

It was announced that starting Tue., June 28, Kennywood and Sandcastle will convert to a cashless payment system, through which the parks will only accept credit, debit, and prepaid cards or secure mobile payments. The same system will be employed starting Wed., June 29 at Idlewild & SoakZone.

click to enlarge Pittsburgh-area amusement parks go cashless for safer summer
Photo: Courtesy of Kennywood Park
Sancastle Waterpark

A press release says that the switch "allows for a smoother and safer experience for guests, who can make payments with cards in addition to using secure mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay." All major credit and prepaid debit cards, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover, will also be accepted.



The transition to cashless systems has become more of a norm in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as uncertainty over how the virus was contracted led to making everyday transactions more sanitary. A January 2021 story from CNBC suggests that a growing number of consumers no longer depend on physical money, with about three in 10 Americans saying they never use cash to make purchases in a typical week, up from a quarter in 2015.

In addition, a study released by the National Retail Foundation in 2020 found that 67% of retailers surveyed "accept some form of no-touch payment," a significant jump from previous years.

“By transitioning to solely accepting cards or secure mobile payments, we can provide a better, more efficient experience to our guests,” says Mark Pauls, general manager for Kennywood and Sandcastle. He adds that, as a result, the parks "expect to see wait times decrease for food and retail stores."

Pauls explains that guests who prefer cash can also use the new, free-to-use Cash to Card Kiosks located throughout each park. The kiosks convert up to $500 cash onto a prepaid card, which can then be used to purchase tickets, food, and merchandise throughout the parks. The cards can also be used outside the park anywhere cards are accepted.

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