Cantaloupe's Seed Cashless Vending System Is Ready For Apple Pay; Tech Firm Urges NFC Adoption

Posted On: 9/23/2014

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TAGS: Apple Pay, cashless vending, Cantaloupe Systems, vending machine, mobile payments, contactless payment, iPhone 6, field-communication technology, NFC payments, Google Wallet, Softcard, Anant Agrawal, Justin Grant, Paul Tims, Imperial Cos., Canteen Vending Services

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cantaloupe Systems said it now supports Apple Pay, the contactless payment application that will be available for the iPhone 6. Apple Pay, which will be released in October, will work at vending machines running Cantaloupe's Seed Cashless mobile payments solution without a hardware upgrade or additional costs to operators.

Apple Pay uses near field-communication technology for secure data exchange with the Seed Cashless card reader. Leading Android mobile payment apps like Google Wallet and Softcard (formerly Isis) also use NFC. Seed Cashless card readers have always included NFC capability. Since Seed Cashless cloud services are optimized for mobile transactions, mobile payments will "just work," the company explained.

To use Apple Pay, consumers will need an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus running a software update that Apple is planning to release in October. Cantaloupe expects operators to see significant payment volume from Apple Pay, starting with this holiday season.

"We've always included NFC technology in every card reader, because we predicted that the payments industry would eventually coalesce on NFC and we didn't want our customers to get stuck with swipe-only hardware that would soon become obsolete," said Cantaloupe chief marketing officer Anant Agrawal. "This decision was validated again when Apple chose to follow Google and others in using NFC.

Apple Pay, cashless vending, Cantaloupe Systems
"Vending operators who want to accept mobile payments should demand NFC support from their cashless supplier," Agrawal emphasized. "If there's no NFC radio in the external card reader or built into the door of newer machines that have a swipe-only card reader, then an expensive upgrade will be needed."

Seed Cashless also accepts traditional magnetic stripe credit and debit cards. This flexibility will permit consumers to gradually migrate from plastic to mobile at their own pace, while operators capture the maximum possible cashless sales during the transition.

"Our job is to position vending operators for the future without missing out on what's widely used right now," according to Cantaloupe's vice-president of product management Justin Grant. "Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard and other mobile payment apps are going to be a big deal in the future. But today, almost all cashless payments come from swiped plastic cards. This means that any successful cashless solution must accept card swipes, too."

Paul Tims, owner of Imperial Cos. (Tulsa, OK), a Canteen Vending Services franchisee, is among the vending operators who recognize the importance of supporting multiple payment standards and network versions. Imperial also operates thousands of vending machines equipped with Seed Cashless.

"When I heard that Seed Cashless supported Apple Pay, I was pleased but not surprised," said Tims, who added that Cantaloupe is prepared for the latest technology changes.

Tims said his company has experienced this flexibility amid evolving data networks. Where some vending technology suppliers required device upgrades for 3G support, Cantaloupe lined up 2G support from multiple network carriers and even has the ability to switch mobile network carriers remotely if one network goes down. "Now I have 2G support until at least 2020 at no additional cost and no hardware upgrades," he said.

Similarly, Cantaloupe's early adoption of NFC readers has saved Tims from expensive card reader upgrades, and field labor costs, allowing his vending machines to take advantage of new mobile wallet products.