How would you like to be able to purchase a Coke or Butterfinger from a vending machine using your Android-powered smart phone? What if you could easily alert the vending company that your bag of chips has become stuck on the way down? What if you could suggest new items for restocking so that the office machine has a better selection, directly from your phone? Wheels are already in motion for this and much more, thanks to Google Wallet and Cantaloupe Systems.
Cantaloupe Systems is a San Francisco-based start-up that provides technology to vending machines and has been hard at work getting NFC payment terminals in units in the Bay Area, Chicago and other cities. Once in place, consumers will be able to tap their smart phone against the terminal and pay for snacks and drinks. What’s more, the technology also opens the door to rewards and offers from vendors who want you to consider their items.
Cantaloupe indicates that they have installed 6,000 NFC bezels thus far, but there are nearly 80,000 machines in their network. Looking at the bigger picture, there are more than six million vending machines across the country.