Payment Systems in Vending: Change is Relentless. And Standard.

Payment Systems in Vending: Change is Relentless. And Standard.

Simon Black, our Managing Director, has recently been featured in Vending International where he was asked to share his thoughts on payment systems in vending. Here's what he had to say,

"In 2009 a project to introduce contactless payment really caught my eye. It was in Istanbul, where the Bosphorus separates Europe and Asia. Back then, passengers on the ferry were already using contactless to pay directly at the gate — faster and easier than before. It continues to be a huge success today.

Yet, jump forward seven years, and it is only now in 2016 that I personally have really taken the leap to using contactless in my daily life here in the UK.

I am not alone — neither in making that decision, nor in doing so now.

October 2015 is the latest month for which statistics are available (courtesy of the UK Cards Association). Here in the UK:

- a total of 76 million contactless cards are now in issue: more than one per adult
- this is an increase of 2.1% on the previous month and 39.7% over the year
- £929.8 million was spent in the month using a contactless card
- this is an increase of 22.6% on the previous month alone and a staggering 213.1% over the year.

Contactless is now. Here.

Vending operators who aren’t able to meet the demand for contactless are missing out.

Yet we still have a huge estate of legacy equipment in the machine park.

And the next wave of evolution is already clear. Alongside contactless cards it will be payment via mobile phones. I have not yet made that transition routinely myself. Nor has the majority. Yet. But early adopters including my younger colleagues have. It will come.

The best way of squaring this circle — both now and for the future — is to make vending management agnostic. So it is ready for anything. As software developers, we at SBS love data. Passionately. We make it work hard for our clients, regardless of where it comes from. Or how it is processed subsequently: of necessity we integrate with all payment systems.

Lewis Zimbler, Operations Director at Nayax UK, explains that for them a key advantage is that: “with SBS Vendmanager, cashless is handled in a standard way — it’s integrated, not bolted on as an after-thought.”

Integration is key. Both for today and tomorrow.

Just a decade ago, note-readers were a scarcity in the UK, whereas machines in the USA routinely handled dollar bills: otherwise they wouldn’t sell much product, given the denominations of coins in circulation. Now we increasingly see the facility here for machines to handle paper money in locations like car parks where it is justified by the price.

The movement to incorporate contactless (and eventually phone-payment) into vending will be much more rapid and far more pervasive, since both are ideal for lower-value transactions. Because genuine market needs always breed solutions.

We’ll need to see the future as standard — because change itself is standard. And meeting new standards efficiently is what will set the winners apart from the rest."

Simon Black, Managing Director of SB Software.

Published 1st February 2016

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