Automated Retail & Vending

9th January 2020 by Jason Vincent

Accepting Square Payments on Vending Machines

It’s the new year, and with the new year come new developments in our digital vending machines. This is the first in a series of posts on the technology we’ve been developing to augment our digital vending machine technology over the past 12 months.

We’ll kick it off with the introduction of Square payments across our range of vending machines – from our DVT wall mounted vending machine accommodating up to 8 SKU’s through to our larger, free standing units. This provides some fantastic abilities operators and retailers previously struggled with, namely the ability to take payments for any amount (no cashless limit) without the addition of expensive, unsightly hardware (think the Ingenico iSelf Series for those who know it well).

But first… some background.

For anyone in the vending machine or automated retail industry, payment systems can often be a source of frustration. Even the larger operators in the world (think the likes of Selecta in Europe) struggle to have a unified payment method across their different operating territories. Why is this so hard? Well, there are quite a number of challenges to contend with:

  • Payment and PCI compliance regulations for unattended payments require that solutions be certified from end to end – be it the hardware, the payment service provider (PSP), or the acquiring bank. They also need to be certified for specific territories at times, meaning that creating a truly cross-border solution that can be deployed anywhere by a global / trans-national operator is almost impossible.
  • Different territories have different payment methods – this is possibly the hardest issue of them all. Go to China, and WeChat Pay has significant market penetration. Japan uses Line and some national card types and barely touches Visa or Mastercard. Switzerland has QR code based payments through Twint.
  • Cashless limits vary, as do regulations. The contactless transaction limit of £30 in the UK may vary in different countries. For example, the equivalent limit is €25 in France, $100 in Canada or $100 (£45) in Australia. This can become incredibly frustrating for operators and retailers needing to vary product mix by territory purely for customers to be able to pay for it.

At Aeguana, we believe in making life as simple as possible. Operating our digital vending machines (or even some of our more traditional vending machines) shouldn’t be that challenging. Our vision all along has been for a truly international deployment where machines could be shipped and connected anywhere in the world and would work seamlessly.

So that brings us to Square. Up until now we’ve had a few very limited solutions for payments above £30 in the UK, or above the contactless limit in other countries. The team at WorldLine with the Valina device have supported us to get a number of pilot projects off the ground – this has worked but was limited in scope when it comes to certified territories to operate in. There are a few other entrants to the market, but none have the necessary maturity and field testing to inspire confidence.

With the increasing trend to work with retailers directly to offer a semi-unattended solution, often in-store or within staffed premises, we were actively working on alternative solutions – enter Square.

Owning a substantial market share in retail payments in-store, particularly for independent retailers, their new hardware and advanced API capabilities have enabled Aeguana to develop an integrated payment system, supporting any value of payments, and operating in a number of markets and territories around the world (and rapidly expanding), whilst doing so through cost effective hardware that looks the part in our premium vending machines and kiosks.

With our initial launch of a Square payment integration scheduled for the US in February 2020, we look forward to what the future holds as we introduce an increasing number of payment methods and technology to our customers!

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