Credit in vending is like landlines in developing countries. Mobile communications leapfrogged landlines. In fact, it may be hard to believe, but India has a greater mobile penetration as a percentage of population than the U.S. This provides an important contrast. It is quite possible that mobile payment penetration in vending could leapfrog retail simply because it can leapfrog the credit infrastructure.
In retail, there is a solution that is working (credit) and to transition to mobile will likely take some form of an upgrade or replacement of terminals with little incremental sales to justify the investment. Ed McLaughlin of Mastercard said, “What consumers don't want is a more complex way to do something they did before; they want to do something that they couldn't do before.” There is not much difference between tap to pay and swipe to pay.
In vending, mobile payment can enable a consumer to do something they couldn’t do at most machines – pay with cashless. The vending industry has the unique opportunity to have greater mobile payment penetration than retail similar to mobile communications in developing countries. It is estimated that mobile payment in retail will have 50 percent penetration sometime after the year 2020. With the right solution, vending could get there far sooner.