NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Simmons Bank Arena Tuesday announced the concert venue will no longer accept cash at merchandise and food stands, a move that sparked a heated debate on social media. 

The arena says the move comes as a way to protect the health and safety of guests, as well as a means of moving along slow lines. Starting immediately, concertgoers will only be able to purchase items inside the building with mobile pay options or credit and debit cards. The announcement caused a heated debate on social media about the use of credit cards, with some arguing the venue was limiting customers and others threatening to boycott shows. 

For some, it’s an easy transition. Maggie Rickles says she’s used to using a card anyway. 

“It’s just an easier transaction,” Rickles said, “like if you’re buying a T-shirt or getting a drink or getting food.”

She adds the few times she uses cash are at things like concerts to quickly pay for a drink but believes the move to contactless should come easy. 

But others add for those used to only using physical currency, the change could come as a shock. 

“As of right now, I think it’s going to be harder for older people to acclimate,” William Melton said, adding he believes it should be heavily advertised before concerts. 

Melton also says the “contactless” payment options meant to protect against COVID could still involve touching, especially when using public credit card machines to swipe. 

The first concert at Simmons Bank without cash payments is Elton John on Saturday, January 29th. So far, John is set to appear as scheduled after testing positive for COVID on Tuesday. 

The arena’s ticket booth will still accept cash for ticket payments.