Vending Goes Wireless


M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is bringing intelligence to devices that have traditionally operated in isolation. New connectivity solutions are letting these devices communicate, allowing them to become smart by using and interpreting data. And these devices can be found anywhere. Consider the vending machine. Many people see them as inactive pieces of hardware designed to spit out a product when you push a button. But with intelligence embedded, vending machines can do so much more.

USA Technologies,, is one company helping vending machines get smarter. The company offers a number of solutions for the industry, including ePort Connect, which is an end-to-end suite of cashless payment and telemetry services.

ePort Connect allows machines to perform functions such as accepting credit, debit, new contactless cards, and other cashless forms of payment, as well as handling elements of transaction processing and allowing customers to monitor and manage their terminals online. The company says new functionality is also being added that will provide notification of machine malfunctions and product out-of-stocks. Alerts can be sent to key personnel and tracked historically.

ePort Connect also allows the data to be transmitted wirelessly, with USA Technologies managing wireless SIM account activation, distribution, and the relationship with wireless providers. Recently, USA Technologies announced a new partnership with Verizon Wireless,, in which USA Technologies’ solution will now include the Verizon Wireless network for connectivity that enables wireless point-of-sale payments at vending machines via credit and debit cards.

USA Technologies says it expects to benefit from Verizon Wireless’ Machine-to-Machine Management Center portal managed through nPhase, The solution is designed to make it easier for consumers to perform wireless transactions at vending machines.

Stephen P. Herbert, president and COO of USA Technologies, says, “… we believe that the sales agreement will enable us to increase our sales reach by having our ePort Connect cashless payments service now included in the Verizon sales toolkit. This represents an important milestone for USA Technologies as consumers continue to adapt to using credit or debit cards for small-ticket, wireless point-of-sale transactions.”

USA Technologies says it currently has more than 100,000 M2M connections to its ePort Connect service, and the number is likely to keep growing. As more vending machines benefit from added connectivity, consumers may demand a higher level of service when they are buying that Snickers bar, or that bag of chips. Even in vending machines, consumers have a choice of where to take their business, and they may find the convenience of easily using their credit and debit cards to be a substantial benefit.

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June/July 2014
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