US cinema operator Regal Entertainment Group says it will accept MasterCard's PayPass contactless payment card scheme at its 558 movie theatres across the country.
Regal's cinema circuit, comprising Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres, operates 6273 screens in 558 locations in 40 US states.
The PayPass scheme has already been implemented at some of Regal's United Artists Theatres in New York. The company says a national roll-out to its other cinema locations will be completed by the summer.
To purchase a ticket, MasterCard PayPass cardholders tap their cards on a specially-equipped terminal that utilises a radio frequency chip to complete the transaction. Payment details are communicated to the terminal and then processed through the MasterCard network for clearing and settlement.
Cliff Marks, president, marketing and sales, Regal CineMedia, says: "With an innovative payment solution like PayPass, we can deliver added convenience, flexibility and improved service to our customers while at the theatre."
MasterCard's PayPass system is also in use at some McDonald's restaurants in the US, and is being incorporated into the card loyalty programmes run by MBNA on behalf of the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens. Other early PayPass triallists Ritz Camera and Boaters' World have also agreed to extend the technology to points-of-sale across the country.
American Express has also signed Ritz Camera, along with US retailer Sheetz, to its rival contactless payments system, ExpressPay. The system, which uses RFID technology in the form of a chip-based keyring attachment or embedded in a traditional smart card, is being rolled out to over 1300 Ritz Camera shops and at Sheetz convenience stores and petrol pumps across the US.
Visa launched its own contactless system in the US market in February this year, although at the time no cards had been issued and Visa couldn't confirm any retailer agreements.