WEST CHESTER, PA -- MEI reported that 22% of all banknotes currently printed in the U.S. are $20 bills. Given this popularity, the company finds it surprising that only a small percentage of vending machines are equipped to accept them. The inability to spend a $20 in a vending machine can drive potential customers to satisfy their thirst or hunger at convenience stores and other outlets, MEI pointed out.
Historically, vending's ability to accommodate high-denomination currency has been limited by the need to dispense change in coins. MEI's new Cashflow Series 2000 VNR Vending Recycler enables machines to reliably accept $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills by using cash-recycling technology to dispense previously accepted bills -- $1s or $5s -- as change.
With the VNR, customers can make purchases directly from a vending machine with the larger denominations frequently received from ATM withdrawals, and collect their change in bills and coins. During the past few months, the manufacturer said, beta tests have demonstrated an average 15% sales lift for machines equipped with the VNR.
MEI reported that the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Lehigh Valley, part of the ABARTA Beverage Group, has been using the VNR in its vending machines for about five months.
"Customers have told me first-hand how thrilled they are to receive bills as change instead of dollar coins," said Mike Gallagher, service manager for the bottling company. "Sales on those machines have increased, and as far as dependability is concerned, the VNR delivers the same level of quality that I've always expected and trusted in MEI products."
MEI marketing director Chuck Reed observed that "many leading vending operators are anxious to install the VNR because it gives them the opportunity to save $5, $10 and $20 bill transactions that they've been losing to convenience stores and other retail outlets."
The MEI Cashflow VNR features a modular design and is said to possess the smallest cash recycler footprint available. An optional high-visibility bezel with bright, low-power LEDs catches the attention of customers and informs them which denominations are being accepted. Operators wishing to offer even more payment options can install the MEI 4-in-1 bezel, which allows the Cashflow VNR to accept cash and MEI coupons as well as card and contactless payments.
The new VNR accepts $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s, and can recycle a single-bill denomination ($1s or $5s). Its modular design makes it easy for an operator to add the VNR recycler module to a VN2700 bill validator. The VNR is engineered for easy installation across a wide range of makes and models of vending machines, and is compatible with all MDB coin changers and coin mechs. The programmable recycler module can accommodate as many as 30 bills at a time, requiring less frequent replenishment and fewer service costs. MEI added that the new VNR builds on the proven performance of the Series 2000 bill validator technology, including an acceptance rate greater than 98%.
MEI introduced the VN2700 validator earlier this year. While the ability to accept $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills is standard with the VN2700, it also makes it simple for operators to enable cash recycling in the future. They can field-retrofit the compact VNR recycling module anytime.
The Cashflow Series 2000 VNR will be showcased at the 2009 NAMA National Expo in MEI's exhibit.
MEI's unattended payment systems, handle over two billion transactions a week in more than 100 countries. The company recently reached a milestone by selling more than four million bill acceptors and five million coin mechanisms worldwide. Its products are in widespread use in the vending, soft drink, gaming, amusement, mass transit, and kiosk markets. Information may be found online at meigroup.com, or requested by calling (800) 345-8215.