Magazine article American Banker

General Cinema May Test MasterCard at Box Offices

Magazine article American Banker

General Cinema May Test MasterCard at Box Offices

Article excerpt

MasterCard International's quest for card acceptance at movie theaters will move a step closer to fruition this week.

General Cinema, the fourth-largest U.S. theater chain, said it is likely to test credit card acceptance in some markets during the busy Christmas season.

"We're trying to determine exactly how important it is to consumers," said Paul Mucci, vice president of finance at General Cinema.

"Obviously, we're moving to a bit of cashless society," he said. "We want to be offering our guests the services they want. If they indicate a willingness for this type of service, it's something we will do."

Fee for Advance Purchase

Many movie theaters allow customers to purchase tickets by telephone in advance, charging them to credit cards. This usually involves a service charge, whereas there would be no charge at the box office.

Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based General Cinema currently accepts advance card purchases through TicketMaster in Los Angeles and Dallas, Mr. Mucci said. The company has 1,351 screens at 248 locations in 28 states.

Eventually, MasterCard hopes customers can buy tickets at the box office as well. During the summer of 1992, the card association tested this concept with United Artists, Loews, and American Multicinema in a "MasterCard at the Movies" campaign.

"We view card acceptance at theaters as a tremendous advantage in meeting the needs of consumers," said Scott Carter, director of small-ticket markets for MasterCard. Many of the theaters in the test continue to accept credit cards at the box office, he said. …

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