Coca-Cola Amatil trials cashless vending machines

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 31st July 2008

Coca-Cola Amatil Australia is to pilot new cashless vending technology in partnership with Vending Management Services Limited (VMSL).

The trial of the new Cashless Payment System and Cashless Reconciliation Engine (CRE) for Coke Vending will allow credit card and scheme-based debit card payments at vending machines.

Gary Meier, General Manager of Coke Vending, says the initiative is in response to Australian consumer research. “In Australia, cards already account for more than half of all immediate purchase transactions. We are bringing vending machines in line with how consumers like to buy,” he said. “People will still be able to use coins and notes in the vending machines if they wish, or take advantage of the new technology and purchase using a credit card or scheme-based debit cards. This initiative is about making the vending experience even easier and more convenient for busy consumers.”

Andy Kerr, Project Manager at VMSL – a subsidiary of CCA, suggests the new machine taps into a worldwide trend. “Paying for products by cashless methods is a growing global trend. The micro-payments market is beginning to catch up which has a big impact for vending,” he advised. “Reconciling payments can be a costly process for bottlers. We built the Cashless Reconciliation Engine to provide the benefit of reduced cost to the Coca-Cola system. All Coca-Cola bottlers can leverage the benefits of this approach.”

The Cashless Reconciliation Engine provides Coca-Cola bottlers with a system that will reportedly interface, without prejudice, to any supplier of cashless payment services.

VMSL suggest that the lack of systemized cashless payment balancing has been a leading cause of the failure of previous attempts to move to cashless payments and believe the CRE resolves the accounting issues that cashless payments presented for the Coca-Cola system.

The CRE will receive data from a Payment Gateway, Merchant Services Provider, Coca-Cola Settlement and Coca-Cola Accounts Receivable. The payments are then reconciled to the transactions and the settled load, with the Coca-Cola accounts assistant able to confirm if they have received all of the cash from the vending machine and all of the funds transfers from the Merchant Services Provider, without having to manually wade through statements to balance the accounts.

“Initially the CRE will be managing credit card payments, however it has been built with a view that any cashless payment at a vending machine can be reconciled into the bottler accounts systems. This presents many opportunities for Coca-Cola Vending,” according to Mr Kerr.

Coca-Cola Amatil Australia currently operates more than 35,000 vending machines.