Innovations and Payment Systems

Use your credit card for small purchases in vending machines


Vending machines increasingly accept credit cards, making small purchases easy. Read more at

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With more vending machines accepting payment by credit card and debit card, consumers are less likely to go digging in their pockets for loose change when they get the urge for something sweet.

Compare Low Interest Credit CardsWhile customers may appreciate the time saved by not counting change when they buy a soda, vending machine distributors see credit card payments as a way to increase sales volumes.  By accepting a preferred method of payment, vending machines are able to rack up higher sales.

Data from Automatic Merchandiser Magazine showed that the number of vending machines that take plastic increased to 3.2 percent of machines from 2 percent of machines from 2004 to 2005.

And as the number of machines that accept credit cards and debit cards grows, a larger number of consumers are opting to skip cash payments for small items.  Global research firm Ipsos found that over 67 million U.S. shoppers paid for purchases of $5 or less by credit card or debit card during a 30-day period in November 2006.

Meanwhile, the increase in cashless vending systems may be due in part to vending machines being stocked with items that are more expensive than a basic can of soda, notes the editor of trade publication Vending Times.  The greater number of merchandise such as energy drinks and boutique sodas, as well as large bottles, represent more money for distributors.

Since any credit card swipe adds about 10 cents to the cost of a transaction, the editor of Vending Times said that the rise of more expensive products has made it more economically feasible for operators to install debit card and credit card chargers.

Sales research from USA Technologies, which develops such payment options for vending firms, consumers spend 32 percent more per vending purchase with credit cards and debit cards than with cash and coin transactions.

Additionally, data from 1,100 vending machines between July 2006 and September 2006 showed that the more expensive an item, the greater the use of credit cards and debit cards.

Of course, the use of credit cards and debit cards also means that vending machines won’t miss out on a sale when the machine won’t take a somewhat crumpled dollar bill.

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