Boston College Athletics recently partnered with PXT Payments to bring the mobile payment application to Conte Forum concession stands. Fans looking to purchase food or beverages in line can avoid exchanging cash or credit card information by utilizing the app.
PXT, an Andover-based electronic payments company, developed Looped In in 2012 as a safer alternative to cash, credit, or debit card transactions. Looped In utilizes mobile technology to facilitate transaction exchanges.
“We believe that an increasing number of BC fans will take advantage of this new payment option on game days when purchasing food and beverages at the concession stands,” said Matt Murrey, vice president of BC marketing partnerships at Fenway Sports Management (FSM), the Boston-based firm that owns the marketing rights to BC Athletics.
The partnership, the terms of which are confidential, was finalized between Looped In and FSM in January 2013, and, as a result, Looped In has been promoted as a sponsor of BC Athletics at Conte Forum and Alumni Stadium since then-football fans may recall the Looped In tent set up outside Alumni Stadium at football games during the fall. The payment system was not fully integrated in Conte Forum until January 2014, however.
Now that the system is live, basketball and hockey fans can use the free app as a safer alternative to cash or card exchanges. The process is simple-users download the app onto their iPhones or Androids, load money, and purchase from concessions stands or participating merchants in the area.
Users create a unique, four-digit PIN number that protects their financial and personal information, and then they enter either their bank account information or credit/debit card information. Once verified, users can begin loading money onto their Looped In accounts-instantly, if transferred from a credit or debit card.
When in line, a fan will place an order and give the cashier his or her phone number. Then, the cashier sends a payment request to the fan’s phone, and the fan authorizes payment by entering his or her unique PIN number. Unlike when using a credit or debit card, no financial information is shared with the merchant.
Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletics director for external operations, said that during the spring semester as the system is rolled out, Looped In will offer fans promotional incentives to use the app. For spending $5, for instance, fans are awarded $2 free, and for the first $10 that fans load onto their accounts, they are given $5 free. As with most new technologies, he said it will be difficult to project how many fans will use the app.
“We believe there is a lot of potential for students and fans to expand the use of Looped In outside of Athletics and off campus, as well,” Murrey said.
The app uses geo-targeting software to locate participating merchants, and it displays them on an interactive map. Users can browse the map and locate deals that merchants offer through the app. Currently, only a small number of merchants accept Looped In at the register. Lee’s Burger Place, Sandwich Works, and Tango Mango, all in Newton, allow customers to pay through the system.
The payment system has not yet been integrated into Alumni Stadium’s systems, but FSM and the athletic department plan to have it up and running in the fall for football season. As for expanding the use of Looped In to other purchases within the stadium-for team merchandise, for instance-Murrey and DiLoreto say the focus will be on working to integrate the system properly into Alumni and Conte. Any expansion will be evaluated after the fall.
Looped In partnered up with Boston University last year, as well, and the school’s Agganis Arena began accepting the mobile payment app at concession stands on Nov. 17.
The app has a number of features, one of which allows users to transfer funds between accounts. Parents can send money to their children, and friends can transfer money between themselves. At a sporting event, one friend could purchase food and drinks for a group without having to exchange cash and make exact change. Those not buying the concessions can simply transfer the amount of their purchase from their Looped In accounts to the account of the one buying.