OENSINGEN, Switzerland — Microtronic AG will stage the U.S. launch of its versatile cashless payment system for vending machines in booth 1223 at the National Automatic Merchandising Association National Expo in Orlando, FL. Microtronics cashless payment terminals were installed in vending equipment at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy this February.
The system is based on a contactless “smart” device (key or card) working with one of several in-machine terminals that read and write to the device with radio frequency data exchange; no physical contact is needed. In its European deployment, it generally has served as a prepaid medium with value stored on the key. Capable of multiple functions, the key also can provide access authorization and control within the location.
New at the NAMA show is the versatile Mmaster in-machine RFID terminal, which communicates not only with Microtronics key/card media but also with new PayPass contactless credit and debit cards, and with NFC-equipped cellular telephones. This Near Field Communication payment option is becoming prevalent on cellphones around the world.
According to Microtronics sales engineer Csaba Szalai, this flexibility is made possible by Microtronics’ adoption of the ISO-14443 communication platform, the common base of international contactless payment methods.
The Microtronics line also includes the popular Msmart terminal, used for hosted internal prepaid cashless vending and designed for installation in any MDB-compliant vending machine with or without accompanying coin and bill validators, the Mini Till terminal that allows the cashless medium to be used by clients in manual facilities as well as at vending machines, and a line of loading-stations for adding value to the medium with coins, bills or credit/debit cards. A wide range of receipt printers and other accessories can be added to meet specific requirements.
Features of the cashless system include transaction data capture, providing easy access to sales and audit information, and the ability to define and collect sales taxes. Product prices can be set in penny increments, independently of the smallest-denomination coin accepted by the machine. Four different price lines can be assigned to user groups, valuable in locations such as universities and hospitals where various kinds of customers have access to the machines. An exact price discount and/or percentage discount can be defined for each price line.
The system supports various bonus programs that can be used to promote sales. These include “happy hour” (time-of-day) price discounting. And a different number of free vends can be allocated to different user groups.
Multifunction capability permits the vending payment system to be integrated with a variety of applications, including access control and time-and-attendance recording. It is easy to connect to existing local area networks, and is compatible with bill and coin validators.
Microtronics’ Flex-Tag option offers customizable three-dimensional design of the “smart” media (for example, the Turin Winter Olympics program featured keys in the shape of miniature Powerade bottles). The standard multi-color tags can be embossed with a company logotype, and the chipcards will support high-resolution color printing on both sides.
Information may be had from Microtronic at Duennernstrasse 32, Oensingen, SO 4702, Switzerland, or by visiting microtronic.com.