PayRange, a turnkey mobile payment system, was announced at PYMNTS Innovation Project 2014, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. The PayRange system includes Blukey™ hardware, a mobile app and service and is poised to be the world’s simplest payment solution for machines. The PayRange system enables existing vending machines, parking meters, coin-op laundry equipment and transit-ticket kiosks to accept mobile payments simply and economically.
Paresh Patel, PayRange founder and CEO, introduced the payment solution for the first time to a crowd of 600 invitation-only, senior executives from the payment industry. Until then, PayRange Inc. had been operating in “stealth-mode” under the code name VendNext.
With initial development complete, Patel shared the good news with the audience. He said in a prepared statement that installing PayRange, “… is as easy as plugging a USB thumb drive into a computer. It takes just 30 seconds and no tools are required. The BluKey™ device works with virtually any vending machine made in the last 15 years, plus millions of other kinds of machines.” Patel went on to explain that consumers maintain a prepaid balance on their smart phones, which can be used to make payments to a variety of machines including vending, parking, transit ticketing, laundry and more. When users are in “PayRange”—or about arm’s length from the machine—they receive an alert and can then immediately “swipe” their finger on their smartphone’s touchscreen to send payment to the machine via a Bluetooth LE connection.
The PayRange mobile app will be available in April for the iPhone, and late summer for Android.
While mobile payment is certainly a hot space for developers, Patel differentiates PayRange by focusing on unattended points-of-sale. “We believe mobile payment traction will occur first in markets where mobile displaces cash, because that is where the most pain is for users,” said Patel. “More specifically, cash payment on machines is unreliable with frequent jams, untrustworthy with ‘eating-money’ mishaps and inconvenient requiring change and/or specific denominations of bills.”
Patel is a veteran of the unattended-retail industry, having founded VendScreen, maker of an Android-based touchscreen device for vending machines to disclose nutrition information and Courtesy Vending, a leading operator of vending machines in the Pacific Northwest.
“PayRange is enabling machines to accept mobile payments in a truly cost-effective way," said Rob Wiltbank, angel investor and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Willamette University. "By eliminating the need for the machine to have its own cellular connection and by aggregating micro payments, this solution deals with the reality of tight margins for machine operators in ways that every other option does not. There is a massive market for this right now."
PayRange has recruited a talented team of experts in hardware, mobile and payments. The company launches its product on April 9, 2014 at the National Automatic Merchandiser Association (NAMA) Expo in Chicago, Ill.