Movie customers wrestle with contactless tech

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Movie customers wrestle with contactless tech

Candy bar transaction times blow out.

Amalgamated Holdings is starting to recover from a blowout in transaction times caused by customers grappling with an introduction of contactless payment technology into its cinema business.

AHL's main cinema brands are Event Cinemas, Greater Union and Birch, Carroll & Coyle.

Director of sales, Kristie Atkins, told the Future of Payments conference in Sydney last week that cinemas typically had "one minute max[imum]" to complete transactions, and that even that might be "far too long".

"Contactless is [now] representing at some cinemas up to 60 percent of transactions in the candy bar environment, which is great," Atkins said.

"But on launch, it actually blew out our transaction time because we felt like we basically had to do the job of educating the customer about what this is, why we've got it, [and] how to use it."

Atkins said the company had since "gotten over that little hill" and was starting to see "that transaction time ... coming down".

Atkins did not specify which of the cinema brands her comments referred, but Event Cinemas has been running promotions since earlier this year for 'tap and go' payment of candy bar items using the MasterCard PayPass contactless system, and AHL was named in February as merchant partner for the next-generation of PayPass.

Atkins said the trend among cinema customers was increasingly to transact digitally.

"I'd say a large portion of business with our companies now is done online in advance or on mobile," she said. "For us huge focus going forward is how to improve that experience in that digital environment."

She said paying for cinema tickets using mobile apps had gone from a fraction of one percent to recently account for over 40 percent of all digital transactions fielded by AHL's cinema entities in a little over three years. Event Cinemas has mobile apps for iOS and Android-based devices.

Atkins said the mobile app was often used in the foyer of the cinema itself by customers that wanted to avoid queueing for tickets when they arrive.

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