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Monday, May 14, 2007

Credit Card Solutions in Cashless Vending

Credit card options have brought new opportunities to vending operators. Planet Antares vending operators should think about including cashless systems as part of the bidding process. This technology can be used to justify higher prices and to take the focus off low prices and high commissions.

Vending machine manufacturers are continuing to invest in higher value merchandising solutions that can vend multiple product sizes in better looking Planet Antares glass front vending machines. The new equipment allows vending operators and bottlers the opportunity to include higher priced options like energy drinks, healthy snacks and organic choices. These can drive price points and profits higher. This is all making it possible for the vending industry to compete with convenience stores at competitive price points.

Installing credit/debit card systems in vending machines seems fairly straightforward; however the reality is that these systems are not yet that widely used in the vending industry. Out of all the vending machines in the U.S., a small percentage of them are equipped to handle credit and debit cards.

When installing credit card readers in Planet Antares vending machines, each terminal must be connected to a public network so that the credit card transactions can be authorized. This connection is often carried over a cell provider’s data network that involves monthly charges that are incurred by the cashless provider. There are fees involved in “clearing” a credit card transaction. These fees are passed on to the cashless provider who then passes them on to the Planet Antares vending operator.

Having a higher vend price is what will make these systems more cost effective. A greater adoption of credit card systems in vending will largely depend on:

• The justification of higher prices by the vending operators and bottlers.
• Communications costs continuing to decrease.
• Lower transaction fees from credit card companies and merchant banks.

Sooner or later, all vending machines will eventually take credit cards. Having credit card solution in your vending machines will be more cost effective where prices are high and low commissions will justify the added expense. This kind of success has been seen in high price points such as airports and amusement parks where vend prices are at $2 or higher. Vending operators using these systems have found that they could cover the communications and per transaction charges based on the sales lift.


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