SAN FRANCISCO -- Cantaloupe Systems said it has partnered with payment processor First Data Corp. to implement near-field communication technology in thousands of vending machines in the U.S. Using Google Wallet, a mobile payment application that uses NFC technology, customers will be able to make purchases by tapping their phones at vending machines equipped with the Cantaloupe technology.
Google Wallet is compatible with the MasterCard PayPass contactless system, already available in thousands of retail stores, and will expand to accommodate other NFC payment systems as they come to market.
"Our goal as a company is to bring leading-edge retail technology to the vending industry, and you can't get more leading-edge than Google Wallet, which will allow consumers to buy everything from electronics to snacks using their smartphones," said Anant Agrawal, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Cantaloupe Systems.
Several major vending operators who are Cantaloupe customers, already support NFC in vending machines. They include CC Vending, which serves the tri-state area centered on New York City, Black Tie Services and Midlantic Vending, which operate in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and Mark Vend in the Chicago metropolitan area. In addition to the NFC enablement, all the machines are equipped with Cantaloupe Systems' Seed technology, which monitors, reports and analyzes real-time sales data over the Web.
"The applications for NFC payments are vast, and by expanding the user experience to the vending market, we are providing customers with a fun and engaging way to purchase goods at vending machines and even get offers and coupons," said Dom Morea, senior vice-president at First Data. "This partnership is another step in the payments evolution that First Data is driving across our solutions, integrating mobile payments into consumers' everyday lives -- and making payments interactive, fast and convenient."
CC Vending president Mike Cascione added that the merchandising value of NFC payments goes beyond customer convenience to building customer loyalty and frequency of purchase. "With mobile payment solutions like Google Wallet augmenting the customer information we're already receiving from Cantaloupe Systems' wireless Seed technology, we'll be able to offer custom-tailored promotions keyed to individual product preferences," he said.