When looking to buy concert tickets, one of the most frustrating parts can be all of the extra fees and charges that get tacked on at checkout. Ticket prices displayed often don’t reflect the full cost once you go to complete your purchase. Service fees, processing fees, and more can quickly drive up the total price. Who wants to pay more than the listed ticket price if they don’t have to? If you want to avoid the fees and extra costs, your best bet is to use a ticket app that doesn’t charge added service fees.
Why Do Ticket Sites Charge Fees?
If you’ve ever purchased tickets through a major retailer like Ticketmaster or AXS, you’ve likely encountered those frustrating fees. So why do most major ticket sellers add on extra charges? Here are some of the main reasons:
- Convenience fees – These cover the cost of processing online orders and e-ticket delivery.
- Service fees – This is essentially a commission that goes to the ticket retailer.
- Facility fees – This covers maintenance costs for the venue.
- Order processing fees – For the staff and technology to process the ticket purchase.
While these fees are bothersome for customers, they generate major revenue for ticket sellers. By tacking on $10, $15, or even $20 extra per ticket, a company can rake in serious profits especially for big concerts and shows. So the fees aren’t going away anytime soon unless there are lower cost competitors in the market.
Apps Offering Fee-Free Tickets
Luckily, there are now several apps that offer concert tickets with no hidden fees. Here are some of the top options:
Gametime is an app that exclusively sells last minute tickets to sports, concerts, theater, and other events. Their goal is to enable people to find affordable tickets even on short notice. Since they focus on unloading last minute inventory, they don’t tack on the usual service fees and charges. The convenience fees are usually under $2 per ticket.
SeatGeek is a ticket aggregator that searches multiple sources to find the best deals. They offer a 100% buyer guarantee on all tickets. Their mobile ticketing eliminates fees and they only charge shipping costs if you choose to have paper tickets mailed. SeatGeek often has promo codes available to save on your entire order.
CashorTrade is a unique platform that allows people to exchange tickets directly. All transactions are handled between users. This peer-to-peer system means there are no processing fees at all. You can sell your extra tickets to recoup costs or swap them for other events you want to attend. They guarantee all tickets listed for sale or trade are valid.
StubHub is one of the largest ticket resale marketplaces. They have a price cap on service fees, capping them at around 15% of the ticket cost. Their guarantees ensure valid tickets that arrive in time. Sellers handle shipping, so fees vary based on method. But mobile transfer often has minimal fees. StubHub offers plenty of verified resale tickets for in demand shows.
AXS Mobile ID
If you do purchase tickets through AXS, opting for Mobile ID delivery eliminates fees. Their Mobile ID tickets are scanned right from your phone at the venue. There are no shipping costs and no extra processing fees. It’s the cheapest way to get AXS tickets. Just make sure your phone is charged before the concert!
How Ticket Fees Are Calculated
Ticket fees are complicated and confusing by design. Companies don’t want you to know exactly how much their fees are marking up the base price. But here is some insight into how ticket sellers calculate those annoying add-on costs.
Percentage of Ticket Price
Many fees are charged as a percentage of the base ticket price. So the more expensive the ticket, the higher the attached fees. For very popular shows where tickets may start at $100 or more, you could pay $20+ in fees at checkout.
Per Ticket Fees
In addition to percentage-based fees, there are per ticket charges tacked on. These flat rate fees apply to each ticket in your order. The convenience charge, for example, may be $5 per ticket. So a group order gets very expensive.
Higher Fees for High Demand
Big concerts and hot tours mean bigger fees. Sellers know rabid fans will pay the fees to get seats. So they maximize profits on in-demand tickets. Fees on floor seats might be a 25% markup vs. 10% in the nosebleeds.
Lower Fees on Unsold Tickets
As events approach with unsold seats, fees often decrease. Sellers would rather get something for tickets than let seats go empty. So last minute buyers may get slightly reduced fees.
Extra Fees to Watch Out For
Besides the usual service fees and processing charges, here are some other ways companies squeeze out a few dollars more per order:
If you choose physical tickets, look out for shipping fees. They can be $10-$25 to mail ticket printouts to your home. E-tickets eliminate this cost.
The venue tacks on this maintenance and upkeep cost, usually $5 or less per ticket.
In-demand concerts may have additional “peak” fees added for the most popular shows where tickets sell out fast.
Taxes and Surcharges
Taxes vary by location, but can add 10% or more per ticket. Payment surcharges may be added for certain credit cards.
How to Minimize Fees
While fees are hard to avoid completely, here are some tips to reduce the amount you pay in add-ons:
- Use a fee-free ticket app – This can eliminate most of the annoying fees.
- Buy season ticket packages – Sports teams and theaters often discount packages.
- Get group discounts – Groups of 6+ tickets often get fee waivers.
- Buy bulk packages – If going to multiple shows at one venue, packaged tickets are cheaper.
- Go for upper level seats – The best tickets come with the highest fees.
- Buy early – Fees tend to rise closer to the event date.
- Choose e-tickets – You avoid shipping costs at least.
- Use promo codes – Check for special offers that reduce fees site-wide or on certain shows.
The Bottom Line on Concert Ticket Fees
It’s unfair but true – buying the listed ticket price is almost impossible nowadays. But apps like Gametime, SeatGeek and CashorTrade prove you can still get fee-free or low-cost tickets. Just be prepared for the fees that most big retailers pile on at checkout. Carefully calculate the final price before you enter payment info. With vigilance and smart shopping, concert fees won’t have to ruin your budget.