Cedar Fair testing RFID wristbands for payment

Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:50 AM | Contributed by Jason Hammond

In the near future, you may not need to take your wallet to Cedar Point, Soak City, or other Cedar Fair LP parks. This summer the Sandusky-based company, which owns 11 amusement parks and six water parks, is testing a new system it calls FastPay at its Dorney Park amusement park in Allentown, Pa.

Read more from The Toledo Blade.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:47 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Those of us who work in technology and IT/security seem to have a grasp on it, too. I don't get why everyone's so afraid of technology. I think it's pretty awesome.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:54 PM

The test is going on in a park that has no regulation through the state. I would expect "other parks" to mean the ohio parks because they also have nothing that would bother RFID operations. Obiviously thats the most important place to do it anyway. All of the other parks (to varying degrees of severity) have some legislation in place that would make things more difficult. If I were in the position I would put it where there was no oversight, but avoid the parks with oversight and be ready to pull the plug when regulations are enacted. The prepaid should have no problem legally speaking anywhere they want to put it. By all means, I hope whatever they decide to do works. I'm just saying there should be some caution taken when dealing with a new arena of rules you haven't come into contact with before. I have confidence in the companies decision making and I am sure they won't blindly jump into a national program without investigating every state independently and I sincerely doubt that this will become a company wide program any time soon. I wouldn't be suprised by a company wide prepaid wristband though.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:02 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

No, no, no, no, no, no.

You have zero idea what you're talking about.

This is already happening at almost every hotel in the country. Even in the town where I work, there's a restaurant that has a deal with local hotels to charge back to their rooms - it's the same damn thing, and it's not going to require the intervention of DHS, the NSA, the president, FBI, CIA or whatever. It's just not.

This is also happening in every Wal-Mart in the country. They have everything tagged with an RFID tag/identifier that alerts the inventory system when the item walks out the door, and orders more if they're getting low. How do you think security knows whether or not something is stolen? It compares with the register logs, and if it wasn't paid for, they can find out. Those things you walk through? More than just an alarm.

I realize the idea of RFID scares some people, but it's really not going to have anything to do with personal information.

I'm sorry, but you're just plain wrong.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:05 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Why would there be a company wide wristband, prepaid or otherwise? That makes no sense.

You go to Cedar Point, if you want you get a wristband. You go to Knott's Berry Farm, if you want you get a wristband.

Why would Cedar Fair offer a national wristband that had to obey all the laws of each state where the company does business? Far easier to offer a wristband on a park by park basis that complies with the laws of that state.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:11 PM

Okay. Take a look at ncsl if you are interested I'm reading the things I am referencing. It speaks for itself. No more RFID talk for me unless I'm getting paid for it. Thanks for an engaging conversation all.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:27 PM
kpjb's avatar

913girl shows up the same time Aamilj comes out of hibernation. Coincidence?


Hi

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:37 PM

I know I don't post much, but feel I can add some insight to this. There is no red tape for Cedar Fair. They are already paying someone to take care of the legal side of storing peoples personal information for them, you know the people who are storing it.

So long as they have been named PCI compliant from an accredited source and aren't broadcasting any personal information via RFID it's really not that difficult and the barriers will be minimal.

What has a lot more red tape than RFID is what Timber Rider mentioned above with regards to prepaid cards. The term he is looking for is slippage and the laws as to what a company can do with that vary from state to state. In some cases, Michigan included, any slippage must be reported to the state treasury as unclaimed property, meaning the company doesn't get to keep it. It wouldn't make any sense for Cedar Fair to use the prepaid card model in this case. It would be far easier to tie it to a credit card.

Editing to add in case it wasn't clear, I think she is confusing the difficulties of having an RFID system in place with the difficulties that come from being accredited to collect and store (they already do this) peoples personal information. It sounds like she thinks they may be one in the same.

Last edited by Cypr3ss187, Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:09 PM
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:40 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

But! But! But!

NCSL!

http://m.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/radio-frequency-identific...-laws.aspx


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:58 PM

^ Looks like a lot of enhanced drivers license regulation and not much else. Almost every other case involves the words "without permission or consent". Unless Cedar Fair is going to sneak up on you and slap a band on your wrist without your OK, this doesn't appear to apply.

913girl said:
Okay. Take a look at ncsl if you are interested I'm reading the things I am referencing. It speaks for itself. No more RFID talk for me unless I'm getting paid for it. Thanks for an engaging conversation all.

The universal code for "I surrender because my arguement is no longer defensable". Never refer to a site which will refute everything you are trying to argue.

Raven-Phile made the same point above, but if I can link a credit card to a hotel room key in hotels around the world and charge anything to my room key, why would a wrist band, that I signed up for and agreed to the terms, be any different?

Last edited by Bozman, Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:58 PM
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:58 PM

Yeah, none of that will really apply though when your talking about just transmitting a series of numbers that are used server side to look up and charge the account. Nothing personal will be transmitted via the RFID I'm sure, and even if someone skimmed all the numbers, good luck getting access to the table that you would need in order for the numbers to be useful.

Editing to add that I'm aware Tek knows the vast majority of what was within the link has no bearing on Cedar Fairs application of such tech.

Last edited by Cypr3ss187, Thursday, August 15, 2013 7:01 PM
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 7:04 PM

kpjb said:

913girl shows up the same time Aamilj comes out of hibernation. Coincidence?

Drats! My super-secret scheme to rid the world of electronic commerce incognito, starting with one coaster message board...FOILED! :-)

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:53 PM
Jeff's avatar

Oh weird, Great Wolf Lodge, in Mason, Ohio, uses RFID to get into your room, and buy stuff everywhere in the resort. Pretty sure Cedar Point is in Ohio. And oh wait, I work for a theme park company that does the same thing in its parks.

And others are correct that RFID has nothing to do with credit cards at all. Regulation around card processing is mostly self-regulated (PCI) because the card networks are not in any hurry to lose money to fraud.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:02 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I agree with 913girl. As a former Meijer cashier, I have dealt with all kinds of different systems and cards. Credit cards, gift cards, rewards cards, perks cards, EBT and you name it. Like she is trying to point out, this system will only be of value if it works 100 percent of the time. And, as a person who has dealt with a lot of card situations, it will never be a 100 percent reliable feature.

For example. If you have a credit card tagged onto this wristband, and you want to add funds to it, while in park, (or out) If your bank is down, or if the system is down, you will not be able to use it. Which will then have you reverting back to your wallet anyways, and if you have left your wallet at your hotel, or where-ever, you will have to go and get it. Kind of defeats the purpose. As a system like this would have to communicate via computer to many different sources at the same time. And, if one or more of those sources is down, it can shut down the whole system.

I can't tell you how many times we have had to call in tech support, to get our so-called modern machines working again, while we try to get as many non cash guests out of the store with adding machines, and hand written credit card slips, with the old slide punch credit card readers, because the machines would not function at all. And, it is not a quick task of getting them back online either. So, it's not as easy as some of you think.

You have to be on the other side of the business of cards, to understand how complicated they can be. The only way to remedy a downed system is to be on the phone with each credit card company, and be ready to be on hold, while you get transferred from department to department to department, until you get someone who knows what they are doing. the pleasures of banking outsourcing, and lame automated systems.

So, ask yourself, do want to be the one spending your day at guest services waiting in line with everyone else with a tech problem? or do you want to just save time and bring your wallet? Just because some of you have had no problem to date with your business, does not mean it won't happen. Having spent 15 years dealing with unhappy customers, I would rather nix it.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:10 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Yes, it is as easy as we think. Sorry, but cashier experience doesn't mean you know how these systems work.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:13 PM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Timber-Rider said:
I agree with 913girl.

Well, that certainly puts the final nail in the coffin of her argument. :-)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

Timber-Rider said:

For example. If you have a credit card tagged onto this wristband, and you want to add funds to it, while in park, (or out) If your bank is down, or if the system is down, you will not be able to use it.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. The wristbands are not a proxy to real-time card processing. When you set up a folio account at any of these parks, you swipe the card at the kiosk or customer service, set a limit, and a temporary auth is made to make sure you've got the credit. At the end of the day it batches out whatever you actually spent.

This stuff has been figured out for years by all sectors of the hospitality industry.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:00 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I spent years as a cashier. I disagree with Timbur and Ninonewhatevergurl and her 'brother'.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:25 PM
sirloindude's avatar

Timber-Rider, your argument is roughly the same as saying that airlines should use stones and chisels to record reservations because their systems occasionally go down.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Friday, August 16, 2013 1:06 AM

I love new technology, and I'm happy that Cedar Fair is looking into new forms of payment. Without the change in leadership, we might still be using cattle and corn. So, I think the RFID wrist bands are smart, especially for pre-credit card teens and water parks.

That being said, the RFID bands at Dorney sound like wearable gift cards. There is still quite a bit of thinking, as you need to know the balance to make purchases, and you need to keep track of it after the day is over. If a credit card was tied to the wrist band as mentioned throughout the thread, I'd be far more interested. This is a good first step though.

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Friday, August 16, 2013 8:22 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Soon, we'll all be using our very own RFID wrist bands to make purchases on underwear and sunscreen.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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