Innovation is a good thing, but I sometimes worry about what is the motivation driving it?  Sitting in yet another conference session where service providers have identified that, because people want to buy tickets and have to pay for them, and we need to sell those tickets, that there is money/margins to be taken from our transaction chain, I have to ask if all this is really necessary?

TheTicketingInstitute generally welcomes innovation, including in payment methods and on new devices, creating new channels, especially if they make it easier and quicker for customers to buy.  Yet too often there is a sting in the tail.  One ‘solution’ being touted did provide a new way of listing ticketed events, combined with one click purchase, and the ticket purchaser “only paid a 1.50 euro booking fee” and the seller a 10-15% commission.

The switch to the smartphone is seeing a race to provide effective secure, minimal input, purchase solutions, with banks and their competitors bringing out alternative solutions, swiping, near field, account based, etc.  Apple are clearly in a significant position here, and integrating that with Passbook will give them an advantage, if venues accommodate to it.  The questions will all be about charges.

But in an ideal world, venues and their solutions providers want to keep it simple.  Why can’t the payment gateway providers extend to offer a variety of tools within a single suite to accommodate the obvious payment methods, including credit card one-click purchase on smartphones?  Ironically, the latter is one of the most secure payment methods since the device ID is communicated along with the customer’s details.

In that conference session referred to above, PayPal were again advocating their solution, as an alternative to Visa and Mastercard channels.  Yes they have now improved their protection for sellers and buyers to bring it nearer to that of the credit card providers, but they still treat tickets and their sellers as “intangibles” with less protection.  Of course, with their App they are targeting young mobile consumers so venues may need to offer that payment channel.  But the question must be: how much is being taken out of the income supposed to be in the ticket price?