04 Nov From Cash to Card: The New Age of Vending Machine Payments
“I Have Cash For a Vending Machine” Said No One Ever
Kids in New York City grow up taking mass transit most everyday, learning to count money, and to manage it between spending at the bodega, and buying another ride home. Now, kids are using their iPhones to see if their parents deposited enough money for them to grab a bacon, egg, and cheese and a bag of chips on their way into school in the city. The days of using cash to get around, and keeping cash on you are fading, with debit cards being a normal part of day-to-day life for some time now. At first, the issue was security: people felt like carrying cash made it easier for someone to rob them, and make off with their hard-earned money, but lately, the hassle of having to do what the children of New York City had to do has caught up to adults, and being able to get what you need with a quick swipe is the new normal.
1. Where the Micro Market is Headed
There is nothing new about a tiny storefront with a small selection of packaged snacks, fruits, and vegetables, but what is new is that, now, these tiny storefronts are in offices and schools across the nation, and they’re automated. People help themselves to the items of their choosing, and swipe their cards at a kiosk. It’s called the micro market now, and they’re relatively easy to get, provided your office has the necessary room and electricity. Micro markets used to have to be watched and managed by a person who also checked people out with a register, or a cash box. Now, with cameras and credit card machines, that person is free to be more productive elsewhere in the company. Next could be micro market delivery via apps on smartphones, and a spectacularly short wait for a snack.
2. Paying for Snacks in a Cashless World
Maybe the only surprising thing about this advent of new vending machines is that it took so long to become commonplace. Even when there was no such thing as a vending machine that accepted credit cards, it would be rare that anyone would have what the vending machine craved: a crisp, perfect, unblemished dollar that has seemingly never been outside of the bank. Taking that into consideration, card-accepting vending machines didn’t come a moment too soon: now that cash is rare, and money management has been assigned to tracking spending via online banking accounts, snack-buying and food-getting has also had to change to keep up.
So What’s Next?
Let’s be honest with ourselves: as long as debit fees still exist and fruit is still sold on the side of the road, cash won’t be abolished, but we’ll never be back to the very different time when there were no vending machines or smartphones. Companies should see vending machines and micro markets as an opportunity to attract bright and productive new employees that are incentivized to join your company for convenient snacks.