NEWTON, MA -- Firestone Financial Corp. is flexing its creative muscle with new programs for payments technologies. The Newton, MA-based company now provides financial services for products made by Core Cashless and Embed Systems, both of which provide debit card, point-of-sale and other automated technologies for site-based amusements.
"Payment products are a departure for Firestone in that they are ancillary pieces to equipment," said Firestone sales vice-president Jim Hines. Specialized finance companies like Firestone customarily fund commercial assets that earn money for businesses. These include aircraft, construction equipment and maritime vessels, and in Firestone's case, vending and amusement machines, carnival rides, coin laundry machines and fitness equipment.
"But we need to be more of a total solution for our customers, which is why we are bringing financing to this new segment," Hines said.
Multifunctional POS systems are a significant infrastructure upgrade for venues of all types, but operators who are using them have reported successful results, according to Hines. "It's a market that we want to be a part of."
Firestone is offering subsidized programs providing low-interest financing for one or two years. And for many operators who have been contemplating the switch to either an Embed or Core Cashless system, the availability of tailored financing might prove the deciding factor.
PHOTO: Firestone chief executive David Cohen (center) is pictured with the amusement sales team. They are, from left, Spencer Norton, Larry Yaffe, Sal Cifala, Helen Mooney, Jim Hines and Pete Aldrich.
Part of the reason for Firestone's move into this type of financing, Hines observed, was based on customer demand. "Many of our customers have asked if we finance card-reader and POS systems," he said. "I spoke with an operator who asked about putting a program together for a system, and it evolved from there."
"We're now invested in this marketplace," Hines said. "We've been in the amusement industry for almost 50 years, and as new things come out, we want to be there to help finance them."
Firestone's new business area is working so far, Hines reported. Operators using its programs are able to add the latest POS technology to their FECs, bowling alleys and amusement parks, and any entertainment facility in need of an infrastructure upgrade.
Hines underscored, however, that Firestone does not endorse cashless/ticketless systems over traditional token/ticket amusement environments -- proponents of each continue passionately to debate. "We're not saying that a cashless system is better than token and tickets," he emphasized. "There are pros and cons to each. All we're doing is servicing a component of an industry that is an investment."
The real takeaway is Firestone's financing flexibility. "We want our customers to know we're not as rigid as people may assume," Hines said. "We're willing to explore financing opportunities for new and novel product types, if they make sense."