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Vending Business Information, Issue #002 -- Cashless vending
December 11, 2010
Prepaid Cashless Vending
This is a program that has been implemented by colleges, prisons and other locations that have the ability to have a closed loop system. The way it works is that machines are installed on location that will sell a card usually for 1 to 2 dollars per card.
After the card has been purchased the owner may return to the same machine to replenish the funds on the card. The cards can be limited to the amount of money that can be applied to the card.
When returning to the machine to replenish the funds the customer will put their card into the slot marked for the card. They will then deposit a bill into the machine, on an LED display it will show the consumer how much money is now on their card. Every vending machine at the facility (let’s say a prison) will normally be set up to only take the cards.
When a person wants to buy a soda they will put their card into the card slot on the machine. The machine will hold onto the card until a purchase has been made or the customer hits the return button. If a purchase is made the customer will see the cost of the product they are purchasing be deducted from their card via the LED screen on the machine. When setting up an account the prison will have the keys to the cash to card machines controlling the money their customers are putting on the card. The vendor controls the keys to the vending machines controlling the product at the account.
Normally the vendor will take the hand held with them weekly to each machine and download the sales for that machine. Once they are back in the office the sales will be downloaded onto a computer and a report will be generated for the prison. The report will be emailed to the prison and normally the vendor will receive a check in the mail two weeks later for the first week’s sales. As you may have already figured out the prison has been drawing interest on this money for close to three weeks. The vendor will at the end of the month mail a check to the prison for the percent of the sales the two of them have already agreed upon.
The advantage to the vendor is that it is quicker to download the sales than collecting cash, counting it and taking it to the bank. The account likes it because they are in control of the money that is on the cards at all times. This makes setting up an account that doesn’t have this system fairly easy (the account likes the system). The card reader that is in each vending machine is around five hundred dollars. If a vendor is interested in this type of a system they can contact a manufacturer of these units to find out more information.
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