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Cantaloupe Systems, First Data deploy Google Wallet in thousands of vending machines

Cantaloupe Systems and First Data are letting consumers use Google Wallet to pay for snacks and drinks at vending machines across New York, Washington and Chicago.

The companies have implemented near-field reader technology that accepts Google Wallet as a form of payment in vending machines around the country. Customers will be able to make purchases by tapping their devices at the vending machines.

“The $50 billion global vending industry is largely unautomated,” said Anant Agrawal, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Cantaloupe Systems, San Francisco.

“By offering traditional cashless and now mobile payment options, we’re making it easier for consumers to purchase products from vending machines and we’re enabling vending operators to more effectively compete with traditional retailers,” he said.

“We believe mobile payments have the potential to catapult the vending industry ahead of other retail segments.”

Reaching new customers
Google Wallet is compatible with the MasterCard PayPass contactless system, which is installed in the vending machines.

Enabling mobile payments on vending machines not only makes purchasing easier but could also help the operators of these machines reach new customers and increase sales.

“Our goal is to improve consumers’ purchase experience by offering a broader array of products and making it easier to buy vended items since you no longer need a pocket full of coins,” Mr. Agrawal said.

“We also believe mobile payment options will enable vending operators to appeal to Gen Y, which is more likely to purchase from unattended retail than other market segments,” he said.

“We’re also focused on helping vending operators increase sales per machine and boost profit margins, which average 1 to 2 percent in non-automated machines.”

The NFC-enabled vending machines are owned and operated by Cantaloupe Systems customers, including CC Vending, which serves the New York City tri-state area, Black Tie Services and Midlantic Vending, which serve the Washington metropolitan area and Mark Vend, which serves the Chicago metropolitan area.

In addition to contactless payment readers, all the machines are also equipped with Cantaloupe Systems’ Seed technology, which monitors, reports and analyzes real-time sales data over the Web.

Mobile payment services such as Google Wallet augment the customer information vending machine operators already receive from Cantaloupe Systems, enabling them to offer custom-tailored promotions based on individual product preferences.

First Data Corp. is providing the payment processing.

“Google Wallet is fast becoming the most ubiquitous mobile payment option available with hundreds of thousands of merchant locations currently accepting it, so it makes sense to partner with them in the vending industry,” Mr. Agrawal said. “In the future, we plan to support other mobile payment platforms.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York