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TOPIC: credit card processing vs. atm

credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 19:33 #18930

  • Mike
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We do not accept credit cards. Just looked into it and was shocked by the % charges. But more and more expect it. So we looked for an ATM and are just learning about buying and installing one. Have you a ATM in your theatre? What does the cred card % and fees cost you?

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 20:46 #18931

  • trackfood
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Mike, this is just like your soda cans vs. fountain soda...
You're behind the times, Yes, the credit card percentages aren't much fun to think about, but most people like to use their plastic EVERYWHERE. Keep in mind, a lot of people will spend more at the concesion stand when paying with plastic, than with real cash. If you had an ATM it would be better than nothing, but it is still inconvenient to have your customers have to get out of line to get cash.
Think about it this way, just raise one of your fountain sizes by a quarter to cover those credit card fees...
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 22:26 #18932

  • wimovieman
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I am in the same dilema Mike--I do not have an ATM in my theatres yet--but about a year ago I put one in the hallway of a mini mall I own mostly because a restaurant in the mall does not have credit card capability and I know they are missing out. I have it set to a $2.00 upcharge which is paying for the equipment--but you can set that at any value. It has been well received and as soon as the economy gets better in my area (and people start coming to movies again) I will go that route in the theatres. I will do a cheaper upcharge though--just to cover some costs.

My biggest reason for not wanting the credit cards is my average sale is so small that the costs aren't warranted.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 22:43 #18933

  • BurneyFalls
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I don't take cards yet either, so I, too, am curious about the responses of those that do take cards.

It has never really been an issue here; there are two banks a block away. In the past I would see maybe one card a month. In the last six months though I have seen an increase in the amount of cards coming out of customers wallets to maybe one or two a week. I still don't think that justifies credit card processing fees in my situation, but I have looked into it.

I am curious though, I thought it was illegal to pass the fee on to the customer. Is a cash discount any different than charging a fee. Gas stations do that around here. Just wondering.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 23:17 #18934

  • rufusjack
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The approx. 3% you will end up paying is just a cost of doing business like your utilities.

My credit card/debit card sales are approx. 30% of sales.

Just do it. Customers expect it.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 10 Jun 2008 23:50 #18935

  • wimovieman
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Burney--

IF you have a credit card set up--you must except any amount charged and not pass the fee on to the customer. You do not have that problem with an ATM--you set the upcharge and you set the limit (mine is all $20 bills, maximum $200 per transaction)

I wish I could find a place that would only charge 3% for credit card transactions--I would have had it yesterday!--by time you pay the other monthly charges on the equipment, and extra telephone line, ect, ect and most of the companies I talk with charge more for small transactions.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 07:30 #18936

  • Pieman
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We have had an ATM in our lobby for about 5 years. Lately we have had a huge increase in the amount of people who hand their card over to use credit and we point out the atm..we find 90% of people actually have the cash and just use that..then about 30% of those go and use the atm to get cash out for their snacks anyway. We looked into an EFTPOS system, but going solely by the amount of people who use the ATM, the fees etc worked out to $7000..whereas the ATM doesn't cost us anything and actually pays us if there is enough useage per month..so we are staying with the ATM for now. We do like the idea of the credit cards etc, but just don't like the fees. 99% of our customers are happy with that..the ones that aren't are generally from the city or overseas. Ive had one person complain in the last year..he said it was like living 30 years ago..we are in the country..so yes..it is a bit like that..but he used the atm and was fine.
I know the idea is to keep all customers happy..but I imagine a lot of customers would be upset having to wait for cards to go through. We only have 3 screens and that doesn't justify multiple ticket selling stands.
So Id say go with the ATM, find a deal where they pay you to have it in the lobby. Several banks do this and several ATM companies
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 10:09 #18937

  • slapintheface
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57% of my patrons use credit cards.......I would be out with out them...
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 10:15 #18938

  • dsschoenborn
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I looked at ATM vs Credit Card too in the past. You probably could find the thread here or on the RTS Boards.

The pay back on the ATM machine, phone line needed for it etc. was not worth it. We too have 4 banks withing 2 blocks but still some customers who were sent to the banks never came back. I had credit cards setup on my RTS system in minutes once I got my account and it is just as fast or faster than cash.

Also fees are negotialable so give it a try.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 13:19 #18939

  • revrobor
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In the 80 seat speciality mini-cinema I'm planning it will be a cash only operation. I will not have a computerized admission or concession system. I will have only two admission prices - members and non-members so I will use roll tickets and log the sales. I will probably have an ATM.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 18:13 #18940

  • jenhelene
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Do some heavy research first. While a lot of places have about the same relatively high percentage, the company we recently went with (BankCard USA) hit us with a LOT of surchages and misc. fees. For example, at midnight we automatically get a slip of paper that prints out of our machine that tells us what our total credit sales were, and breaks down the companies (which ones are MC, VISA, etc.). That slip of paper costs us 20 cents!!! And when we get an automatic monthly statement, that costs us $10 a month! (They call it a Customer Service Courtesy Fee or something).

Anyone know of a better company to go with?
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 11 Jun 2008 18:28 #18941

  • sevstar
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Mike search ebay with the words "merchant account. That is where we found our last broker who got us a very reasonable credit card merchant account with NPC.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 12 Jun 2008 00:15 #18942

  • rodeojack
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$10 here, $.20 there... sure, it adds up. But, it's a service, and somebody has to pay for it.

I don't personally use ATM machines, because I know going in that the merchant is using it to make extra money from me. I'll likely spend much less there. I have no problem with merchants who don't take checks. I personally write 1 or 2 per month. They're a pain for everyone.

Plastic has become a fact of life. Gift cards run through the Visa/Mastercard system. Kids get their allowance on them, ostensibly to teach them some discipline in the use of real credit. Checking account debit cards will run through a standard credit system without requiring a pin, though there is a discount for merchants who have the pin box.

My percentage of customers using plastic is also very high. 10 years ago, it was a toss-up... no more. It's a part of our business, as are the fees involved. We're paying fuel surcharges to a couple of our delivery vendors... gotta find a way to cover that stuff, too. Fit it into your pricing structure and offer a service that makes it easier for your customers to do business with you.

Oh... As enthusiastic as I am about the RTS integrated system, there are other ways to process credit. A friend of mine has a processor that connects to the internet and prints on thermal paper, like the RTS system does. Processing with both systems runs 3 to 5 seconds, and the receipts spit out of the printer in about 1.5... no signature required for transactions below $35.00
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 13 Jun 2008 12:30 #18943

  • dsschoenborn
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Mike I would only go the credit card route and then start using the gift cards through RTS too. The cards can be used for loyalty too so it really helps your image to your customers that you are very mainstream.

Lst night at the midnight show of HULK we had a very collage age group. I saw mostly credit and debit cards being used by this group. Glad I could serve them since I mostly do familys the collage crowd goes to the other theatres where they spend a lot more money than with me. Hope they saw that and come back more.
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Re: credit card processing vs. atm 13 Jun 2008 19:39 #18944

  • BECKWITH1
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Mike,

Been there. Agonized over credit cards/ vs low pricing for a number of years. We started accepting credit cards in March. Here is what I wish someone had told me long ago: So far the real cost has not killed us or become the issue I thought it would be. We pay $14.95 for the monthly statement and .20 per batch (so assume .20 X 30 days or approx. $6.00). We process through Mercury Pay which you pretty much have to use if you are on RTS since it is included in the RTS annual cost structure now. We take Mastercard, Visa and Discover. Most of our cards are actually debit cards at 1.59% + .17 per transaction, while the 1.79% + .17 per transaction is for regular credit cards. There are extra small surcharges which appear to be attached to the individual consumer's card i.e. if you carry a rewards card of any type the merchant pays an xtra surcharge everytime you use it. (Who do you think pays for those mileage perks and cashback cards?) Nevertheless, I figure that the total cost to me is about 3% of whatever is charged each month and that amount is debited monthly out of my bank account while the income deposits are on a 1 day delay from when the batch is processed.
You need DSL service which can be obtained from your local phone company and can be run on an existing phone line - ours is attached to the fax line The phone company will probably also supply the necessary modem so the only additional cost is the DSL monthly service itself. Our computers were already networked so we just attached the existing router to the phone company supplied modem. This actually sounds easier than it was but it is worth the hassle and now I have high speed internet for my computer for websurfing instead of the dial up I've been on because my computer is also on the network.

With the RTS set up you can't tell the difference between a debit card and a credit card and you don't care - just swipe (sorry I forgot that you do need to buy credit card swipes for your terminal from RTS and they are $250 each) We bought ours years ago and had them in storage. ---Anyway, just swipe, print, have them sign, and give them the tickets & receipt. You don't need a printer at each terminal as you can share a printer - however, it needs to be close enough to get the receipts easily.

So... Our theater previously had an ATM machine. I would not choose that option knowing what I know now. The ATM deal is no less costly and doesn't really eliminate the customer perceived negativity that you don't take credit cards. Just take the cards and don't try to stop-gap with the ATM. It won't work in the long run. So far I have not found that our concession per caps have gone up since we started taking cards at least not more than .20 or so which isn't enough for me to say that there is any connection. Yes, people will charge/debit the smallest item so expect that and look at your overall pricing with the knowledge that they WILL charge $1.00 items if you have them. We accept cards for both tickets and concessions. We have only 1 ticket selling station but it takes only a slight bit longer to process card and have customer sign than it does to get cash and give change. We are taking cards now because the scale has tipped in our suburban area so that we must just to remain competitive with the other theaters in the area. That point will differ based on how close your customers are to chain theaters that take credit cards.
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