At Stansfield Vending, Wilson has not had a great deal of success with cashless, unless it is the only system available. In two county jail programs that use strictly debit cards, the system works very well, said Wilson. However, in a cafeteria where the debit cards were accepted with cash, the usage was marginal and was discontinued.
“Credit card transaction fees are a huge hurdle,” said Wilson. “I don’t see significant usage of credit cards in the next 10 years unless transaction fees decrease dramatically.” Wilson believes Stansfield Vending will go the route of bill recyclers as higher denomination bill acceptance is needed.
People are carrying fewer and fewer coins, said David Mays, president, Pyramid Technologies Inc., and using more bills. Recently, in the last five to 10 years, besides bills they are also carrying credit cards. But Mays doesn’t see cashless eliminating bill acceptors or even coin mechanisms.
“I see it as a transition thing. It makes no sense to eliminate bill acceptors in most locations, unless you’re worried about theft.” The bottom line is that having many options for payment means being less likely to lose a sale.
SECURITY OF BILL VALIDATORS
Bill validators are secure. There are a number of ways the manufacturers stop the acceptance of fraudulent bills, said Mays. Bill validators either use light shining through or bouncing off the bill. There’s also magnetic recognition (at least in U.S. currency) and different optical methods, including infrared and multicolor. The type of security depends on the manufacturer. “Bill acceptors for vending are usually simpler than say, those for gaming,” said Mays. Gaming validator security is more complex because acceptance of higher denominations necessitates fighting counterfeiters who focus on those bills.
MEI boasts unique algorithms which are unable to be faked by copiers, laser printers or digital encryption, according to Reed. Although security differs between their MEI and the less expensive Conlux model which uses a combo of optics and magnetics, Reed said they are both secure. “You don’t hear much fraud in vending due to the lower denomination,” said Reed. “Operators want to know it’s there, but there is not a lot of discussion about security.”
CHANGERS OR BILL VALIDATORS
In direct competition to on-machine bill validators is the stand-alone change machine, which is a large investment. Benefits to this are a higher volume of change available, meaning less fill ups as well as a single piece of equipment serving a number of machines. There’s no need to purchase multiple bill validators, since machines come with coin acceptors standard. Additionally, stand-alone changers prevent consumers from using the validators to make change. Thus, while the bill changer itself requires an investment (including the change fund), it can also minimize validator service calls.
Mike Coons, vice president, Standard
Changer-Makers Inc., said there’s recently been
interest in a new change
machine that recycles multiple currencies. The new BCX Series – Bill & Coin Exchangers, said Coons, dispenses both paper bills and coins, and provides a combination of quarters or dollar coins with $5 bills in exchange for $10 and $20 bills. It’s a great machine for large vending locations, and has proven popular in hospitals and professional office buildings.
“As for currency updates, there is a competitive advantage we have over the bill validators or recyclers,” said Coons. The operators using a change machine have to update a single machine/bill validator when they use a changer in a vending location.
The $5 bill upgrade has had the biggest impact on the vending industry compared to other currency changes because most machines that accept anything over a dollar accept the five.
How operators will update their Coin Acceptors’ equipment depends on the age and quantity of bill validators they have, said Paczkowski. Operators can purchase a handheld field programmer which has the new pattern. It hooks up to the validator to update it.