Mobile Payments: Why Vending Operators Shouldn’t Wait

Mobile Payments for VendingConsumers are using mobile phones to pay for nearly everything, and it won’t be long before mobile will become the main method of payment. Vending operators have been adopting mobile payment capability, but they need to speed up the pace if they want to capture their fair share of sales.

That was the message from Evan Jarecki, vice president of sales and co-founder of Gimme Vending LLC, which provides technology solutions for vending, during a presentation at the National Automatic Merchandising Association show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

In two years, Jarecki said mobile payment will take the vending industry by storm.

While not all customers will use mobile pay, Jarecki said vending operators should offer as many payment options as possible. Evan-JareckiHe said mobile payment is more convenient for the vending customer than using cash or paying with a payment card.

If a machine only takes cash and the customer doesn’t have any, they will leave.

If the machine accepts payment cards, the transaction will not happen instantly, and the customer can have second thoughts about the value of the purchase before they finalize the transaction. There is also a chance the payment device will malfunction.

Mobile payment delivers a fast and satisfying experience, he said. It entails no interruption of activity, no chance for second thoughts about making the purchase, and little if any chance of an equipment malfunction.

Mobile pay is also the most secure option available, Jarecki said, since physical identification can be lost or stolen.

He said mobile devices equipped with near-field communication are more secure than credit and debit cards. The customer only has to tap the device against the machine to authorize the transaction. The data is protected by encryption, which translates data by means of a private code.

Near field communication currently uses the EMV security standard, the same standard credit cards use to prevent fraudulent transactions.

There is also no chance of losing connectivity with mobile as there is with a Bluetooth connection.

Many vending operators mistakenly believe older consumers still prefer not to pay by phone, Jarecki said. In reality, he said the majority of consumers up to age 65 now own a smart phone. Nearly a third of U.S. consumers purchased an iPhone last year alone.

One factor driving the growth of mobile purchases is e-commerce.

Jarecki said more people are using e-commerce than physical stores to purchase gifts.

Another factor driving this shift is Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

Alexa has become very popular since it allows consumers to manage numerous daily tasks, such as gaining real-time information about traffic and weather, setting their alarm clocks, and listening to music and audio books.

Mobile reward programs are a good way for vending operators to introduce mobile payments, Jarecki said.

Gimme Vending LLC provides an app that integrates with vending management systems, providing both cash and inventory accountability.

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By Jeff Adair

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