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APi, USA Technologies Plan To Apply 'e-Port' Cashless Vending, Multimedia Systems To '20 Series' Machines

Posted On: 7/25/2001

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ST. PAUL, MN - Automatic Products international, ltd. and USA Technologies, Inc. (Wayne, PA) have announced a partnership under which USATs' "e-Port" technology will be made available for use with all APi "20 Series" vending equipment.

An "e-Port" device connects to a vending machine controller to enable the machine to function as a node in a wide-area network. "e-Port" was developed to permit applying USATs' "TransAct" credit-card micropayment system to vending machines and other self-service equipment. It also can provide patrons with access to other network services.

"e-Port" technology allows customers to make vending purchases with credit cards, bank check cards and other cashless payment media. It is supported by turnkey financial services handling the authorization and settlement functions of these transactions.

USA Technologies also has demonstrated and is developing a multimedia accessory for "e-Port"-enabled machines. This is a 4-in. x 6-in. interactive display module that can be installed in an APi "20 Series" merchandiser to provide "Internet-like" information to vending patrons. Content might include continually updated news, weather, sports, advertising, product promotions, and much more.

It is expected that incorporating "e-Port" into "20 Series" equipment will open up new opportunities for vending operators, and can enhance patron convenience. The ability to use bank and major credit cards to make vending purchases has been demonstrated to spur sales and thus generates incremental revenue. And the ease with which multiple purchases may be made with a single transaction also generates additional business.

The "20 Series" line is highly modular, and so is able to realize the full benefit of these features, APi explained. For example, a specially-configured "20 Series Snackshop" with "e-Port" installed can host an adjacent "A LA CARTE" food merchandiser (refrigerated or frozen) as well as an additional "127 Expander." This configuration allows a customer to purchase multiple items , a frozen entree, a salty snack, a cold beverage, and a candy bar for dessert , with a single card insertion, making every selection from a single keypad.

The APi "20 Series" includes equipment vending candy, snacks, pastry, canned cold beverages, food, ice cream and hot drinks. There are three "Snackshop" glassfront multiproduct merchandisers; two glassfront combination units incorporating modules that dispense eight or 10 canned cold drink selections; and the "127 Expander" and larger "125 Snackshop," glassfront dispensing modules controlled from an adjacent "20 Series" machine.

The "320 A LA CARTE" accommodates refrigerated food, chilled snacks and packaged beverages or frozen food, desserts, snacks and frozen novelties. It can be hosted by an adjacent "Snackshop" or fitted with the "310" control module for stand-alone installation.

The "223 Café Diem" hot beverage merchandiser is designed to meet the growing demand for customized specialty coffee-based drinks, and can host an adjacent "127 Expander" or "125 Snackshop."

USA Technologies developed its "TransAct" cashless remote payment system for use with self-service business centers for travelers. "e-Port" expands on this capability. This spring, USA Technologies and Marconi Online announced a partnership to develop end-to-end solutions combining the "e-Port" customer interface and remote transaction processing service with Marconi's "Intelligent Vending" telemetry applications (see V/T, March).

APi "20 Series" merchandisers equipped with "e-Port" card validation hardware and software can be purchased from APi distributors nationwide. Details of the package are available from local distributors.

Information on USA Technologies' "e-Port" may be had from the manufacturer by calling (800) 633-0340.