Vending machines and cash go hand-in-hand. Being frustrated when a vending machine rejects a wrinkled dollar bill or dealing with the inconvenience of not having exact change are problems that many people know all too well. Vending machines were a technology that was very slow to adapt to the uptick in the use of credit and debit cards, but they are coming around now.
The main reason that vending machines were so slow to adopt a payment method for credit or debit cards is that this change would cost money. It would either mean converting old machines-which would be expensive-or starting from square-one-which would entail creating entirely new machines. Despite their popularity, either of these innovations is a big monetary commitment.
Nevertheless, vending machines that read credit cards are catching on. And with this, the variety of products that vending machines can dispense is increasing. For example, some vending machines are now dispensing wines and digital cameras. Obviously, an ordinary vending machine would not be able to sell these items. This creates a trade-off between bearing the cost of installing these new technologies and saving money by not doing so. There are no definite statistics on how much more profitable these new and improved vending machines are, so the choice to install or not install is still up in the air, at least to an extent.
Ultimately, though, vending machines that take credit cards are the way of the future, so to speak. For one, vending machines that dispense more than just afternoon snacks are not universal. These are mostly used in places where many people come through every day, like airports. So vending machine companies are not forced with a massive, expansive overhaul of all of their machines.
But even the more “typical” vending machines are still best-served if they read credit cards. More and more people are using credit cards, and fewer and fewer people are carrying around dollar bills-or, for some particularly archaic vending machines, coins-so it’s simply good business to adopt credit cards. And the cost of installing credit card readers is decreasing, many companies are offering low-cost installation.
There is certainly a monetary hit that comes with adapting vending machines to be able to read credit cards. However, given the increased profitability and the simple prudence of making them compatible with a form of payment so many people carry with them nowadays, vending machines that can read credit cards are no doubt taking over.