Phoenix Suns Take Big Step Into Mobile Payments

June 24, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

While security issues have always plagued the growth of mobile payments, perhaps the second biggest culprit of any slowness in growth is the issue of use cases. If you can’t actually use a mobile payments system, then what, prithee tell, is the point of having it? That’s why every example of a new use case in the mobile payments field is worth noting, and recently, Talking Stick Resort Arena and the Phoenix Suns took a big step forward on the mobile payments front.

The Suns are putting their mobile app to use as a mobile payments vector, thanks to a new partnership with Ticketmaster that opens up SafeTix, a ticket program that allows for near-field communications (NFC) ticketing. Basically, this means you’ll need the app to actually get into a game, since all tickets will be mobile-based starting this October.

With the mobile-only ticketing will also come mobile payments access, using services like PayPal and Venmo, to cover things like merchandise and concessions purchases. And yes, this does include both express pickup and suite delivery, so the bonus benefits of a mobile payments system—like mobile order-ahead—are in play.

While the move to mobile-only ticketing might seem a bit egregious, especially given that some fans almost certainly don’t have smartphones, the move isn’t so outlandish as you might think. In fact, word from Ticketmaster says that almost half—40 to 50 percent—of tickets bought last year went into Apple Pay or Google Wallet systems. Such a move is poised to help speed up access to the arena and make the customers’ experience better for it.

And indeed, it improves the customer experience on several fronts. Reduced waiting lines for concessions can be a very big deal; just ask anyone who’s ever been in one of those lines. Even if you’re not one of the ones placing a mobile-based order, getting the people who are out of the line shortens the line for everybody.

As long as some kind of concession is made for those who don’t have smartphones, the overall experience should be a good one. Shorter lines, faster time to get into the arena, and better service tend to improve just about anyone’s overall customer experience.