Elevate the vending experience with touchless payment technology

In the past two years, how many of you have used your phone or “clicked” your card to make a payment? Prior to 2020, this number was rather small. However, the pandemic has forced many of us to make changes in how we do things, including making purchases. Many of us have started buying groceries online and choosing either delivery or pickup. In the store, others may have started using card information stored on their phones to make frictionless payments. At first, it was for hygiene reasons, but now, consumers prefer touchless payment options just for convenience. And this is the key – convenience.

The vending industry is arguably the leader in consumer convenience. Whether at work, the gym, or traveling, consumers do not have a shortage of food and beverage options through vending and mini markets. But is the industry keeping up with the way consumers prefer to pay?

Consumer trends

In its 2021 Back to Business study, Visa found that more than half (56%) of consumers use contactless payments whenever possible. Those surveyed for the study were found to have new expectations when it comes to paying in stores. In fact, using a credit or debit card is the best contactless option that consumers expect (62%), followed by mobile payment apps (41%) and mobile wallet payment (37%). According to the study, “The use of contactless payments has become part of the public health response to COVID-19, but the convenience, security and reliability of such payments will undoubtedly enhance long-term habits.”

Data from the vending industry, specifically, also found these stats to be true.

Earlier this year, Cantaloupe partnered with the Broad School of Business at Michigan State University to conduct a joint study on payment trends in unattended retail. The study analyzed a sample set of 160,000 cashless devices for Cantaloupe ePort across various sectors from January 2021 to October 2021 and found that the overall share of cashless transactions increased from 51% in January 2020 to 62% in October 2021 compared to cash transactions which decreased to 49% to 38% in the same time period. The study also found that as of January 2020, 18% of non-cash transactions were contactless.

By October 2021, contactless transactions had increased to 43% of all non-cash transactions overall. In a corporate announcement in August, Cantaloupe CEO Sean Feeney said: “When we analyze our entire network of devices throughout the first half of 2022, we see that contactless payment methods make up nearly half of all cashless transactions. And these trends are not slowing. The data suggests that by the end of 2022, more than two-thirds of all transactions will be cashless, driven by consumers who prefer to click. For vending operators, this underscores the importance of offering contactless payment options if they want to increase revenue and maintain their competitive edge.”

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The company stated that the rise in cashless payments has been driven by consumer adoption of contactless payments (i.e. a payment method that uses NFC or RFID technology to “click to pay”), including a smart card or mobile wallet. Based on the data, the study predicts that contactless payments will grow by another 31% through 2022.

Contactless Payment Solutions

Manufacturers in the industry are leading the way by introducing advanced contactless payment technologies that keep pace with this change in purchasing behaviour.

Cantaloupe announced earlier this year that it will integrate Vendekin’s Retrobox, a patented hardware-backed SaaS product to make vending machines touchless and smart, supporting frictionless experiences for consumers.

Five years ago, Vagabond vĪv’s touchless payment platform technology allowed its original telemetry device to receive payments. “We already had our own telemeter, and there were a lot of credit card options, and it just didn’t make sense at the time to build a credit card reader when there were already so many good options,” said Juan Jorcuera, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Vagabond. . So we thought, ‘Why don’t we make something different? Let’s make our telemetry more powerful and allow it to collect payments. The added bonus was that it lowered costs for our customers because the device was a fraction of the cost of a credit card reader.”

The telemetry itself is connected to the machine control panel and can communicate with the processor and the device to make it so that the coils rotate. So, with consumer boxes making payments through their phones, the machine checks the balance and sends the signal from the telemeter to the machine’s control panel, saying, ‘Yes, I got the payment, turn the file. This was all possible thanks to the backselling management software we built with Vagabond. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to create a touchless technology.”

Last year, Florida operator Manuel Barrios of CVM Services Inc. Take advantage of the opportunities that touchless technology can offer, and upgrade certain accounts using the Vagabond vĪv touchless payment platform. Barrios has posted vĪv on every vending machine he runs at Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) in Daytona Beach, making it the first university in the United States to make touchless purchases. He not only replaced existing card readers and telemeters with Vagabond vĪv Insight machines, but also removed bill checkers and coin mechanisms to make the machines completely touchless.

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B-CU students and staff have benefited from this change with their ability to remotely view products in devices, remotely access nutritional information, experience a secure contactless purchasing process, and access product discounts through vĪv, including the First Purchase Free program .

Other manufacturers offer completely touchless experiences, too. PayRange, for example, introduced a contactless payment option long before the pandemic. With the company’s BluKey device, consumers never need to touch a machine to select their products. PayRange also offers many ways for consumers to pay; It is compatible with all major credit cards and digital wallets, and as of early 2022, has added capabilities to accept store gift cards and cryptocurrency.

VE Touchless, from Vendors Exchange, offers customers the option of a touchless vending machine experience using a closed loop between the user’s phone and the device. Customers use their mobile device to scan the QR code on the device, make their choice, complete the payment and enjoy their purchase all without touching the device. Operators can upgrade their UCB or non-UCB machines with our Touchless Vending Machine Kits.

To provide a cashless and cashless experience, earlier this year at NAMA, Nayax introduced the EasiFit Bill Verification Toolkit, which allows accepting cash and non-cash payments working with the Nayax VPOS Touch cashless payment solution. The solution allows accepting cash and non-cash transactions from a single location on the operator’s device. In a statement during its launch, Carly Fuhrman, CEO of Nayax LLC, said, “The beauty of this solution is that operators can use our flagship device, VPOS Touch, along with a simple proprietary adapter to allow for cash and cashless acceptance into the device from the same absolute slot… All the benefits of VPOS Touch and the Nayax platform that operators love, such as full EMV certification, multi-vendor multi-vendor with no significant pre-authorization, full loyalty and discount campaign platform and remote price change capabilities, can now easily fit into our invoice validator.”

Is touchless technology worth the investment?

Although the pandemic has helped push more people to use contactless payments (and many are starting to use the technology for the first time), the convenience is what has kept it going. Juan Gurcuera agrees that touchless technology is more about comfort at this point, than about cleanliness.

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“It’s about a better consumer experience,” he said. “Touchless provides a lot of opportunities left on the table that can elevate the unregulated retail industry to behave like any other retail industry where we have a physical engagement with the bottom line.” It refers to other retailers, such as grocery and convenience stores. “Any other retailer uses data from real sales to figure out what products to stock. They expect the fact that Sally will buy something because they know Sally has purchased several items in the past two weeks.” Most operators have no idea who is buying what and this is more of an interactive sale and not proactive sale.”

Jorquera says that by using Vagabond’s touchless technology, operators are able to know exactly who is buying, and they can start targeting specific products to specific customers. “We can offer discounts and change the price remotely,” he said. “We can send out promotions like, ‘If you pay without touching, you can get a discount. “

However, the question surrounding contactless payment technology is how long it will take for this technology to become the new normal. Jorquera believes that integration into the vending industry will take longer than other channels. “I think there has always been a disconnect between what consumers want and what operators want to invest in,” he said. “When we install touch-screen devices in an account, consumers think it’s one of the coolest things. They love the fact that they can browse what’s in the device before they step in. But so far we’ve found that many operators think about it. [this technology] As a novelty, not a necessity. If you put technology in front of the consumer, he will always take it. If you put it in front of the operator, they will be more hesitant.”

The challenge for Vagabond was how to meet the needs of both the consumer and the operator. To do this, the company is releasing its own credit card reader with vĪv technology built into it. “Touchless will be an option in cashless devices,” Jorquera said. At this point, he says, operators don’t make a decision to purchase technology devices based on whether or not they are touchless. Therefore, a credit card reader with built-in contactless capabilities gives operators the opportunity to determine when – or whether – contactless technology makes sense in a particular location. ■

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