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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Credit Cards

Author Topic: Credit Cards
Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-21-2000 07:57 PM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I was just wondering how many theatres, specfically independents and smaller chains, accept credit and debit cards. A LOT of people walk up to our box office and automatically hand the cashier plastic, assuming we take it.
Those of you who do accept credit,
1)Which cards do you take?
2)Is it expensive to set up the system?
3)If you don't have one of those automated machines in the lobby, and accept them at the box only, does it slow things down considerably? It would think it would.
4)Are they also accepted for concession purchases?

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Russ Kress
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 202
From: Charleston, WV, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 06-21-2000 09:37 PM      Profile for Russ Kress   Author's Homepage   Email Russ Kress   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Were looking into it as well. So far, it seems that it is traditional to accept Visa, Mastercard and AMEX.

We are also looking into buying an ATM to avoid the transaction fees charged by the credit card companies.

Since the transaction fee is charged every time a card is swiped, allot of chains issue concession "script" at the boxoffice in the same transaction as the ticket purchase to avoid a second fee.

My theatre is cash only at this time and I am handling eleven screens with two boxoffice terminals. I suspect that this will probably need to be increased if I accept credit cards at the point of sale.

I think an ATM would serve the same purpose (and generate a little extra cash as well).


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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 06-22-2000 04:55 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd say stick with an ATM. The time wasted in getting "approval" and dealing with signatures just isn't worth the extra payroll when an ATM machine will serve the same end result. Everyone knows how customers will skip a concession line anyway if there is a long line. Taking credit cards at the stand would just make it worse and lower per cap.

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Travis Cape
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 122
From: St. Louis, MO, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 06-24-2000 07:11 AM      Profile for Travis Cape   Email Travis Cape   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We are the last independent single screen in St. Louis. Currently, we accept only cash. It baffles me that people can't even bring $4 for the matinee. Considering that our box office can accomodate exactly one person, I am terrified of the prospect of accepting debit and credit cards. We have a bank across the street and a gas station across the other way with ATM machines. Do we need a third? It sounds nice to offer the service but there are instances where it doesn't make sense.

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Lance C. McFetridge
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 134
From: Penn Yan, New York
Registered: Jul 99

 - posted 06-24-2000 07:56 AM      Profile for Lance C. McFetridge   Email Lance C. McFetridge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We don't accept plastic. I guess I am not willing to lose up to another 4% when we are already giving 70% to Hollywood on the break. The math makes it simple. There are two ATM machines in our plaza, so finding one is not an issue.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 06-24-2000 08:27 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you're a small, understaffed theatre, you really don't want to take credit cards at the boxoffice or concession stand. It really slows down the line.

The place where I used to work actually did take plastic for movies since they were already set up for it for the live performances that they were doing in the same theatre (which were mostly pre-sold, anyway). It cost them a lot of concession sales, particularly on nights when the line was long and there was only one person in charge of both tickets and concessions.

I don't know about the costs, but the ATM sounds like the best option with respect to convenience and speed.

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Chris Erwin
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 195
From: Olive Hill,KY
Registered: Oct 1999

 - posted 06-29-2000 10:49 PM      Profile for Chris Erwin   Email Chris Erwin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you want an ATM in your cinema and have a high demand, approach your local banker. If there is high demand,you sometimes can get the bank to put one in,and you could

a) rent them the space
or b) make a deal for a cut of the service charge

Either way,if it breaks down,runs out of cash,etc. you don't have to worry about it as the bank will handle it. Convience stores do this all the time.


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