What are the differences between open and closed loop payment systems?

Closed loop payments allow consumers to pre-load funds into a spending account that is linked to the payment device (such as a wristband or card).  Customers can re-load amounts during the event through a variety of mechanisms, including automatic top-up. Unspent funds at the end of the event are not useable outside of the event and so must be refunded to the customer or retained by the event.

Open loop payments link the customer’s payment device directly to a credit or debit card.  Consumers can use the device in the same way that they would use the linked card, subject to whatever terms and conditions the card issuer provides to the consumer. The devices can even be used outside of the event, if the terms allow, at any retailer that supports contactless payment.