WEST CHESTER, PA — MEI has introduced two versatile payment appliances designed to extend the range of options available to operators for meeting today’s expanding payment requirements in vending. The new models are the Cashflow Series 2000 VNR, designed to increase vending sales by paying back banknotes in change to encourage customer use of larger bills, and the Series 2000 4-in-1 validator that accepts cash, card, contactless payments and coupons in a single unit that can retrofit into an operator’s installed base of machines.
The Cashflow Series 2000 VNR is a bill validator and add-on recycling module that can dispense banknotes as change for the higher-denomination banknotes typically dispensed by automated teller machines. It was previewed at the recent National Automatic Merchandising Association National Expo in St. Louis, MO, and is slated for field-testing in the current quarter with plans calling for shipment early next year.
The new validator accepts $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills. When equipped with the recycling unit, it can pay back either $1 or $5 bills.
Engineered to simplify upgrading machines to dispense banknotes as change, the Cashflow Series 2000 VNR complies with the Multi-Drop Bus protocol and so is compatible with all MDB coin mechanisms and changers.
It also will be available without the recycling module as the MEI VN2700, with the option to upgrade to the Cashflow VNR simply by adding the recycler later. The company observed that this allows operators to “future-proof” their validator purchases, insuring that they can add banknote recycling whenever they see an opportunity.
Other features include a small cash-recycler footprint, giving the assembled Cashflow VNR virtually the same form factor as a conventional validator. Moreover, it comes equipped with a high-visibility illuminated bezel that communicates which denominations are accepted, using bright, low-current LEDs. This bezel can be replaced with an MEI 4-in-1 bezel, which will enable the Cashflow VNR to accept credit and debit payments with magnetic-stripe and contactless payment media.
Chuck Reed, vending channel marketing manager for MEI, reported that fewer than 2% of bill validators deployed at present accept $20 bills. “That means millions of machines installed at locations cannot accept the cash that consumers most commonly carry around,” he explained. “Operators don’t want to continue losing these customers to convenience stores. This product lets them compete head-on.”
The new MEI Series 2000 4-in-1 validator combines all major types of payment acceptance into a single device. Consumers can choose to pay with cash, traditional swipe credit/debit cards, MEI coupons or contactless payment devices. Contactless payment usage is growing, MEI noted, citing a study conducted by the Aberdeen Research Group estimating that, by 2011, there will be 109 million contactless cards in the U.S. market.
Features of the 4-in-1 model include proven Series 2000 bill validator technology (more than 2 million of the popular note validators have been sold), as well as compatibility with existing payment systems, MDB/DEX and the MEI Easitrax remote data port or equivalent. It offers easy visibility with a high-contrast, two-line display, and is sized to fit existing mountings where MEI Series 2000 bill validators are used. Its self-cleaning swipe-style credit card reader resists debris and coin insertion.
“Payment preference is difficult to predict, and it varies widely among people, types of purchases, geographies and even time of day,” Reed pointed out. “Offering multiple options keeps customers from walking away from a sale and attracts sales previously lost to c-stores. The MEI 4-in-1 validator provides an economic means of doing that.”
Information about MEI and its current product lines may be found on the Internet at meigroup.com, or by calling the company at (800) 345-8215.