NFC at the Vending Machine


As consumers become more accustomed to using smartphones and tablets for everyday activities, advanced communications technologies are making their way into the mainstream thanks to M2M. One of these is NFC (near-field communication), which enables short-range communications between devices embedded with NFC chips. In many cases NFC is associated with mobile payments, as people can pay for purchases with a simple tap of their smartphone at a reader. But the M2M technology is useful for additional applications as well.

One place NFC may make a name for itself is in vending. M2M-connected vending machines represent another avenue for NFC to make it easier to pay for an item. USA Technologies,, focuses on supplying connected solutions for the retail industry, and the company announced it is working with a major name in NFC: Isis.

Isis Mobile Wallet,, is an NFC payment system developed as a joint venture among AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless. When a consumer has Isis installed on a device, it allows the user to make payments, store loyalty cards, and redeem special offers at retail locations, all using the NFC capability of the mobile device. Isis wants to create an open ecosystem, and so has designed the system to be available to all merchants, banks, and mobile carriers.

USA Technologies says it will work to make it possible for consumers to make vending machine purchases using Isis as well, all with just a tap of the phone. The company announced it will target up to 7,500 vending machines in Austin and Salt Lake City for mobile payment acceptance using an NFC system. In October, Isis announced Austin and Salt Lake City as launch cities for Isis Mobile Wallet.

USA Technologies supplies the NFC-enabled ePort and ePort Connect service for vending, and the companies say in order to accept the Isis Mobile Wallet, vending operators can install the service and display signage indicating the fact to customers. Some of the features available through ePort Connect include remote access to sales data via an Internet-connected PC, availability of either wireless or Ethernet connection to the network, and machine health alerts to indicate possible issues with operation.

Someday, paying with NFC may be as natural as swiping a debit card or pulling out a wad of cash. As more types of retail services begin to accept NFC, it’s likely that day may be sooner rather than later.

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