Hersheypark goes cashless: What you need to know

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

One of the most famous theme parks in Pennsylvania is going cashless for its upcoming season.

Starting April 2, Hersheypark will no longer accept cash. Instead, its acceptable forms of payment include all major credit cards, debit cards and Hersheypark gift cards. It will also take a variety of mobile payment systems, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. 

"For guests who may not have credit or debit cards, they can convert cash to prepaid debit cards at the Cash-to-Card kiosks stationed around the park. There is no fee to load cash onto a card at these kiosks," the park says on its website.

>> Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Hersheypark's move is part of a larger nationwide trend: Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom both announced earlier this month that they'd be going cashless.

The trend is due to a combination of factors: First, cashless business has become a practical necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to concerns of spreading the virus and a shortage of coins necessary for change. But businesses can also save money by reducing time spent — and staff needed — to complete the transactions.

Hersheypark officials said they are cautiously optimistic the amusement park may be able to open for the summer season sometime in early June.

Of course, the cashless trend raises concerns about so-called unbanked people — households that choose to forego traditional banking services or are shut out of them because of a lack of income to meet minimum balance requirements.

According to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., an estimated 7.1 million American households were unbanked in 2019, the most recent data available. That includes 4% of all Pennsylvania households.

More:Daylight savings time doesn't actually create more daylight, you know

More:This York County police department just added a special needs registry

More:State offers free credit monitoring to those receiving unemployment compensation

Theme park guests who wish to convert cash into a prepaid debit card can use a kiosk at Hersheypark that will accept up to $500 for a prepaid Visa credit card. These cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, including at Hersheypark.

Hersheypark is owned and operated by the Hershey Trust Co. In existence since 1906, the park includes multiple roller coasters and other rides. Its 2022 season begins with the park's opening on April 2. 

Cedar Fair, which owns 17 parks including Dorney Park in Pennsylvania, announced its parks will go cashless as of the upcoming spring season.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.