CASHét Card Created To Serve Film, TV Productions

UPDATED: It is a MasterCard that can be customized to the needs of producers with a system that allows them to track what is charged in real time, and gives them a one percent cash refund.

A new credit card customized for independent movie and TV productions is being offered by a joint venture of competition bond company Film Finances and financial services company Fintage House.

The card, called CASHét (pronounced kaˈSHā), is for productions formed as single use corporations or LLC’s which have no prior credit history, which can make it hard to get cards.

It offers productions a one percent cash back bonus on all purchases. “For the first time there’s a card that pays money back to a company in the production world,” says Paul Rogers, who recently left Fintage to be COO of CASHét Card.

It is a MasterCard which is processed through Comdata, a large credit card processor, which has no financial interest in the new business venture.

It is meant to be used by productions for all kinds of purchases and by various departments like transportation, wardrobe and catering; providing real time accounting controls that allow a supervisor to know each time it is used.

“We’re just one step ahead of society in terms of starting to use plastic instead of paper money,” says Kurt Woolner, co-president of Film Finances.

Users will also be able to take advantage of discounts being arranged with a number of major vendors such as travel, vehicle rentals, construction, lodging and equipment suppliers. CASHét has not yet announced who such discount deals are with.

It is being rolled out this week after more than a year of planning and about three months of testing on seven productions including Better Living Through Chemistry, which stars Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Jane Fonda.

“Were surprised about the easy set-up and appreciated the additional and instant budget oversight we were getting,” says Chemistry producer Joe Neurauter.

Applicants apply directly to the company, through Film Finances (when they get a bond) or through the website (cashetcard.com). They don’t need to get a completion bond to get a card but they do need to put up a security deposit equal to one and a half to two weeks worth of money equal to what they expect to spend each week.

The production can have as many cards as it wants. During the test period, the highest number was 19 put in use. Purchases can be limited by type (transportation might have a card only good to buy fuel) or geography (only for use in the area where the production is taking place) and in other ways.

The bill is payable once a week, which Rogers says is typical of how productions pay their bills. If they don’t pay there are late fees as there would be on any credit card.

There is no interest charge since it is paid on demand, much like an Amex card.

"The card’s custom reporting and controls can give producers the comfort they need," says Rogers, "whether their budget is $5 million or $100 million."

The joint venture makes money by taking a share of the fee that the merchant who accepts the card pays for a MasterCard, which typically runs two to four percent of the purchase. Even after they rebate one percent, they will make a profit

The card, which initially is only for use in the U.S., will eventually also be available for international productions. In an announcement about the joint venture, CASHét says it will be launching other “business solutions for the entertainment industry” in the future.

Film Finances, which is owned by Woolner and Steve Ransohoff, bonds more than 200 movies a year, representing more than $2 billion in expenditures.

Fintage, headed by CEO Robbert Aarts, is best known for doing royalty collections in the music business for a number of high profile artists. It also oversees collections from film productions.

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