Japanese Patrons Can Pay Ahead, Buy Friend A Drink At QR Code-Activated Machines

Posted On: 3/27/2017

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TAGS: vending machines, Japanese vending machine, QR code vending machine, cashless vending, vending in Japan, digital vending machine

TOKYO -- New vending machines popping up in train stations around Tokyo let customers prepay for drinks using their smartphones -- for themselves or their friends -- without the need to be in proximity.

The machines, manufactured by Japan's Acure, are not equipped with cash or coin acceptor, but do feature a large touchscreen. The only way to pay for products is by scanning a QR code generated by a mobile app, which can be used by the vending machine patron or sent to a friend's smartphone.

Patrons can make a single, one-time purchase, or subscribe to buy a beverage on a regular basis for a per-bottle discount. If they send a friend a drink, he or she only needs to wave the QR code at the machine to get their beverage of choice.

The app also provides maps of nearby machines and nutritional information. Users get a point for each purchase, and a free vended drink when they reach 30 points.

The first 15,000 customers to buy a drink at one of the new vending machines will receive a free bottle of water, which they can redeem through September.

Plans reportedly call for 20 of these vending machines to be installed across Tokyo train stations. See the machine in action at cnet.com.