Location closures, safety concerns and inconvenient new protocols aren’t the only issues complicating life for vending and amusement machine operators during the coronavirus pandemic.

PayRange partners with vending machine manufacturers to reinvent touchfree experience in unattended retail.

PORTLAND, OR (July 14, 2020) – Since the advent of the vending machine, the consumer experience has been essentially the same: consumers insert payment and then press a button or make a selection on a keypad to dispense the product. As the global pandemic shows little signs of slowing, leading vending machine manufacturers and PayRange have partnered to reinvent the purchase transaction into a touchfree experience across the unattended retail industry.

Although modern machines may offer contactless payment options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, virtually none are equipped to accept selection without physical contact resulting in the consumer still having to touch the machine’s keypad to complete the purchase. Driven by consumer requests, PayRange organized an industry-wide effort to introduce a new touchfree experience. Leveraging the existing PayRange BluKey dongle that universally works with any MDB vending machine, PayRange developed an end-to-end solution that empowers consumers to not only digitally pay for their purchases, but also make their product selection three to six feet from the machine using the PayRange App – never having to touch the machine itself.

On top of the safety benefits, machine owners can also use the touchless payment feature to provide more inclusive payment options, which promotes sales lift through increased usage and access to millions of existing PayRange users.

Six leading vending manufacturers have committed to deploying the touchless solution with their upcoming firmware releases. These include Automatic Merchandising Systems, Crane Merchandising Systems, Fastcorp, Vendo Sanden, and Wittern Group (USI). In addition, Vendors Exchange will include the protocol in the universal control board (UCB) it manufactures which can upgrade nearly any vending machine made in the last 30 years.

“With growing consumer reluctance in touching the machines, we recognized that NFC and card payment capability didn’t address the need for a truly touchfree experience,” stated Prashant Kanhere, CTO of PayRange. “After receiving queries from several large vending operators, we discussed the matter with manufacturers who were keen on the need for the industry to evolve and they quickly agreed to implement the solution. Most manufacturers are planning to offer the touchfree firmware upgrade at no cost to operators, as they understand the importance of making this change in the current times. We believe this technology will benefit the industry long past the COVID-19 era by providing a much faster and simpler user experience.”

The PayRange hardware is built-in some new machines, and is plug-and-play with those that don’t already ship with the hardware with easy installation in under 30 seconds. The new protocol will support multiple keypad options (numeric, alphanumeric, etc.) and a planogram sync is not required. Operators should contact their machine manufacturer for information on firmware upgrades. In addition to touchless payment and selection, the PayRange solution also includes features such as promotions, loyalty programs, and more.