PORTLAND, OR -- PayRange Inc. said it has signed an agreement with Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. (SMCC), the largest merchant acquirer in Japan, that will enable PayRange to adapt its mobile payment technology for Japan's vending industry.
While Japan's vending machines are present on nearly every block in large cities, many of them don't take credit or debit cards. Some machines do accept prepaid transit cards, but the vast majority accepts only cash and coins, according to PayRange.
"It has been very expensive to bring cashless solutions to this vending market," SMCC said. "The PayRange solution is unique in that it requires no networking infrastructure, allowing easy upgrade of the existing fleet of machines."
The PayRange system uses a Bluetooth transceiver that is plugged in between a vending machine's existing payment system and controller board. The user downloads a phone app and establishes an account, after which the phone can be used to make purchases from a PayRange-enabled vender. The vending machine itself does not need an Internet connection at all; the customer's phone provides the wireless wide-area network, and the PayRange service handles the necessary transaction processing and recording.
SMCC said it is particularly eager to provide cashless solutions to vending machine operators before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics open. SMCC has experience bringing innovative payment solutions to Japan; it has partnered with Square and Stripe to make those services available to the country.
In addition to vending, PayRange said its solution will be available for laundry and amusement equipment in Japan.
"Partnering with SMCC is an exciting opportunity for PayRange," said PayRange chief executive Paresh Patel. "The Japanese vending market is large, but also complicated. SMCC's leadership, reputation, and experience [are] what we sought to ensure success of our entry into the market."