Attendees to the Boy Scouts of America’s 2010 National Scout Jamboree this summer will receive contactless-payment “smart” bracelets for use in making payments during the event, which could draw more than 70,000 individuals.

The event takes place in Fort A.P. Hill, Va., from July 26 through Aug. 4, and attendees can use the bracelet to pay for merchandise onsite. Attendees also may use cash or credit or debit cards to make purchases.

Freedom Pay Inc., a Radnor, Pa.-based independent sales organization, will provide the proprietary bracelets and manage the accounts for Wells Fargo Bank NA. FreedomPay also will provide the point-of-sale terminals and enable users to sign up and add funds to the bracelet online.

Parents may add funds to the bracelet account from FreedomPay’s website using a credit or debit card or through a funds transfer from their bank account. FreedomPay was unable to provide specific details concerning how the funds transfers would be handled.

FreedomPay will offer an optional auto-funding feature that automatically adds funds when the user’s account balance reaches $10. FreedomPay will ship the bracelets beginning July 9; the cost for a replacement bracelet is $5.

To set up an account for the Jamboree, users visit the FreedomPay website and pay a one-time $6 administration fee plus 4.25% of funded amount. Fees differ depending on the type of event and the amount of revenue it likely will generate, according to FreedomPay.

As a special incentive through June 25, FreedomPay is waiving the first 4.25% funding fee for loads up to $100, Teri Abel, FreedomPay vice president of professional sales, tells PaymentsSource.

The minimum load amount is $50, and FreedomPay recommends parents budget $10 to $20 per day. Freedom Pay automatically will reimburse any remaining balances exceeding $5 when the Jamboree is over.

The set-up fees cover the cost of secure account set-up, Web access to monitor spending, unlimited electronic funding throughout the event and access to on-site FreedomPay representatives.

Jamboree attendees also may purchase bracelets onsite during the event but will pay a $20 fee, Abel adds. The bracelet also has a locking plastic snap to prevent transferring the device from one person to another.

Scouts may use the waterproof smart bracelet at any of the Jamboree concession stands and at the camp store by tapping it on any of the 96 FreedomPay terminals the company is providing, Abel says. The terminals also will accept cash and card payments.

FreedomPay declined to comment on whether merchants pay a fee to accept bracelet payments.

Several other companies and organizations, including Reno, Nev.-based Grand Sierra Resort, have used the bracelets, and FreedomPay plans to expand the contactless-payment method to other venues such as cruises or waterparks, Abel says.

“From the standpoint of children and adults, it’s a safe payment option on vacation to not have to carry around cash or cards. Plus, it gives you a defined budgeting tool,” Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Javelin Strategy and Research in Pleasanton, Calif., tells PaymentsSource.

The reload fees for this bracelet, however, “are on the high side when compared to other reloadable prepaid cards available,” Robertson says.

For example, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. charges a flat reload fee of $3, she notes.

However, though the initial fee might seem high, there are no “monthly maintenance fee or other fees common for reloadable prepaid cards,” she says. Additionally, users may want to consider the “anticipated lifespan” of the bracelet to see if the fees make sense for the length of time they can use the bracelet.


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