Special applications for stored value
Ben Diaz, owner of Bayco Vending, San Francisco, Calif., services the vending account for the San Francisco Mint. "They're not allowed to carry any coins into the Mint," said Diaz. Bayco Vending instead installed eSecure's stored value technology which includes a key that can be recharged with bills for credits on the key. Then the machines are equipped with readers that the key is put into, displaying how much credit is on the key. "They wanted this system because it's worked in other mints," said Diaz, "There are others out there, but we found this (eSecure) was the best for what we needed."
According to Diaz, coupons were dismissed because they didn't last long enough. The plastic keys are durable. Diaz gives a key to each employee and only charges if the key is lost. "I'm not making any money on the keys," he said. The cost of the key is $4 and that is what he charges the end user if it's lost.
Diaz compares the cost of the eSecure system to a dollar bill acceptor. According to Diaz, those run about $600. The reader for the eSecure systems costs a little over $900. "But in the end, your not counting any money; there's no dollar bill jams or coin jams," said Diaz.
For other locations, Diaz said the keys help control the foodservice budget. Locations that subsidize the products in the machines can instead let the operator determine prices, then give a credit to each employee on their key. For example: "The employees get $10 each week, and if they go over, they have to use their own money," said Diaz.
Software for the cashless technologies can do a lot for the customer company, from crediting its employees for promotions, rewards, deducting vending purchases from their payroll, streamlining refunds, and more, but for the operator, the cost remains high with the hardware and software, monitoring, internet/data transfer service, transaction fees, etc.
Coupons and tokens remain the cheaper options, which can replace more costly services like employees turning on and off free vend. All options can give operators one more additional service in order to sell their service to an account and promote themselves.
Credit/debit versus stored value
According to Jim Turner, vice president of intelligent vending, USA Technologies, it really depends on the account whether credit/debit readers or a stored value system would be better. "Stored value is a good application for blue collar applications," Turner said. At these locations, historically, fewer people carry credit cards and even fewer use them for small purchases at vending machines. Also, at some locations, employers don't want to promote credit card use. However the trend for white collar locations is the opposite, ripe for a credit/debit card reader. "We've had good success at office and businesses where everyone carries a credit card. It's convenient for them," said Turner. "About 95 percent of our business today is regular credit or debit."
In the future, Turner sees these two technologies becoming one. Card companies have brought out their contactless card systems, and over the next few years they intend to replace the magnetic strip cards with the contactless technology, said Turner. In the contactless chip is the capability for stored value. "They will use their new contactless cards to deliver that system as well," said Turner. It will have the same functions, but in a new wireless, contactless technology.
Funds can be added to the contactless chip, via debit transactions or direct transfer from bank account to bank account — to keep fees low. The funds then reside on a network/server, in case the card is lost or stolen. It's a whole different way for consumers to use credit.
For more information:
CashCode Co. Inc., 905-303-8874, cashcode.com
Coin Acceptors Inc., 800-325-2646, coinco.com
Crane Merchandising Systems/NRI, 800-325-8811, cranems.com
eSecure Peripherals, 888-377-9282, esecureperipherals.com
JCM American Corp., 800-683-7248, jcm-american.com
MEI, 800-345-8215, meiglobal.com
PayKey USA, 864 527- 4408, paykeytech.com
Tokens Direct, 800-514-6312, tokendirect.com
VE Global Solutions LLC, 800-321-2311, veii.com