New beacon from Netclearance ends the need for cash payments in vending machines

Netclearance, a smart beacon technology provider, has announced the launch of its latest beacon: the mBeaconVend.

Its mobile-agnostic beacon technology allows vending machines to accept payments direct from a smart phone mobile wallet, ending the requirement for loose change as we move into a cashless society.

In the UK alone there are more than 462,000 vending machines, vending 6 billion items per year, with a market turnover of approximately £1.65bn per annum. But, three out of every four vending machine transactions are still cash based. With 79% of all transactions in UK shops now being cashless, the vending machine industry is lagging behind retailers in embracing modern payment methods in the era of mobile payments.

“The vending machine industry has been slow to capitalise on the growing cashless economy in the UK, with the vast majority of machines still relying on cash-only transactions. Mobile payments are both attractive and safe for consumers and have the power to revolutionise the purchasing experience, making payments more convenient and quick,” said Jonathan Duffy, EMEA executive director at Netclearance.

The mBeaconVend is based on Netclearance’s intuitive, easy to use mobile payment solution mBeaconPay. Using a customised mobile app, customers can simply wave their mobile device over the smart beacon to be shown the purchase amount, before confirming the payment on-screen. In seconds a purchase is made without having to rummage around for the right coins in your pocket or having to carry a payment card.

Jonathan Duffy, EMEA executive director at Netclearance
Jonathan Duffy, EMEA executive director at Netclearance

The smart beacon also supports a range of mobile phone platforms regardless of make, model or operating system.

Keeping vending machines relevant and profitable is a major challenge faced by providers, with the cost of replacing and overhauling machines often deterring companies from upgrading. But the mBeaconVend is cost effective as it integrates with existing vending machine multi-drop bus (MDB) technology, making it relatively easy to swap out the existing coin box on machines with the smart beacon.

The mBeaconVend is compatible with popular beacon profiles such as iBeacon or Eddystone and this opens up a wide range of mobile app interactions and avenues for proximity advertising.

Jonathan Duffy concluded: “The need to carry loose change in your pocket to use a vending machine will soon be consigned to history. With ever-increasing numbers paying by card it is natural that traditionally cash-only devices such as vending machines will follow the payments revolution that is happening in retail, and become cashless.”

The device joins Netclearance’s leading portfolio of IoT gateways, including the five-sensor mBeaconSense, the mBeaconCard smart badge and the mBeaconPay, which is paving the way for mobile payments in Scandinavia. All Netclearance solutions utilise low-power wireless technology and feature open server APIs, mobile SDKs, and advanced analytics capabilities.

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