In a time when we are all being told to keep our distance, Moviola HQ is busy helping venues get ready to re-open with a series of useful articles to prepare for new challenges and changes.

Today we look at how easy and inexpensive it is to implement contactless payments for your venue. Many market traders and pop-up food stalls use them, so why not community cinemas?

As a nation, we’ve rapidly taken to contactless payments, whether that is through Apple Pay, bank cards or other phone-based facilities that aid us to tap away our disposable income on plastic card readers. Many rural and small communities still rely on cash as the primary form of currency, but is it time to implement a cash-less way to pay for our tickets and tuck?

As of 2017, there were 108.4m contactless cards issued in the UK, with £3,913.3m spent a month using contactless as a form of payment – proving its rising popularity for the ease of transaction in our daily lives. With limits now raised to £45 for many providers (the previous being £30), this upper bracket should prove sufficient for facilitating payments at community box offices and bars.

So, how do you go about it?

First things first, you’ll need an internet connection (which can be through a smartphone or wireless internet). This enables the banking systems to follow their protocols to ensure that money is taken and received by the correct accounts while employing anti-fraud measures to prevent improper use.

Next up, you’ll need a service provider who can supply the card reader and carry out the transaction. The readers vary in price but are usually around £60 for one. The card reader is then linked to the internet and your bank account via a smartphone. Many use an app that makes this part as easy as linking any Bluetooth device or laptop. 

If you are using a phone as your primary source of internet, you’ll need to have an OK signal for payments to be processed. Once linked, your reader is ready to go – you simply type in the amount you wish to charge on the keypad and tap the payment device or card.

For each transaction taken, the service provider will also take a small commission. This can be as little as 1.75% – so a £5 ticket would cost 3p to process. This tiny amount shouldn’t break the bank for most venues – for the commissions to total the price of a ticket, you would have to have 167 people through the door!

Three providers of this service appear to be the most popular:

iZettle

Currently offering 50% off their reader for new sign-ups and able to process all major cards and phone payments.

For each transaction, 1.75% is taken and they will also deposit your cash into your chosen account within 1-2 working days. They offer free phone support and other perks in their software.

SumUp

Currently offering 50% off their reader for new sign-ups and able to process all major cards and phone payments.

For each transaction, 1.75% is taken and they will also deposit your cash into your chosen account within 1-2 working days. They offer free phone support and other perks in their software.

PayPal UK

If you already use PayPal, then this integrated and trusted service may be of more use. It works in a similar manner to your PayPal account and can move money rapidly between the point of sale and accounts. Although slightly higher in transaction fees, its easy-to-use and familiar interfaces might be of benefit to integrate into your own current systems.

(* Moviola receives no fees or preferential perks for the products above)

There are many other providers who can facilitate the same functionality to bring your community venue into the 21st century with relative ease as your online banking or buying products/holidays on the internet. Each have their own advantages and drawbacks, dependent on your situation. We advise that you do some research before settling for the first one you see!

At Moviola HQ, we believe that patrons may become more cautious about handling objects outside their homes, especially those who are at the more vulnerable end of the spectrum. As community venues, it is paramount to provide a safe and comfortable environment for all, this also applies to the handling of (dirty!) cash.

Even if you do not believe that community venues will abandon notes and coins, it is a relatively inexpensive way to increase your revenues – perhaps Derek left his wallet at home, Doris only has £10 and they both want to purchase another glass of wine or slice of cake. This can make it much easier to allow your patrons to do exactly that and keep your coffers topped up for a quiet screening.

As community cinema organisers or volunteers yourselves, if contactless provides any repose, it will save you lugging a big bag of coins and notes to the bank after every screening!

Let us know your thoughts – do you think contactless is worth it? Will you be looking into adding a terminal?

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