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Operations and Management

Vending payment options — paper or plastic?

As vending technology has improved, new payment options have appeared on the market.


Vending machines and credit cards

More and more vending machines are being installed with credit card readers. People are carrying less cash around than they previously did, and the ability to be able to make a purchase without using paper money or coins can lead to more profits. “We find that sales do increase with credit card readers,” said Lindel Creed, vending machine consultant at

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“The younger generation uses credit cards for everything, so, if your site is near a university or college, then the credit card option may be necessary,” said Jim Holve, designer/builder for ShurVend Vending Products. Do you need to have a machine that can read credit cards? Or is your customer base the type that doesn’t mind carrying cash and using it at a vending machine? These are questions you need to ask yourself before making a purchase.

The problem of bill jams and maintenance

The vending machines that are now sold do not have great difficulty with bill jams, according to Creed. “Today’s vending machines are manufactured to make sure operators can clear bill jams and take care of other devices on the vending machine with little effort,” he added. If there is one component of the machine that is defective, it can be unplugged, and a new component can be fitted.


Having a good sales person is also important to proper maintenance, according to Creed. A good sales person will “know the ins and outs of the machine.” They will be the person you go to when there is a problem that you cannot easily fix, he said.

The new bill validators and coin changers are very reliable, Holve stated. “Money is very dirty,” he said, “and eventually the bill validator will have to be sent in to a service center for maintenance and cleaning.” Holve said that this will only be necessary every three to five years.


Advances in security features will make theft less of a problem as well. “With the new security features on the [vending machine], the only way a bill validator can be vandalized is to stick a screwdriver into the bill receiver and try to break something,” said Holve. Doing this will cause damage to the machine, but will not lead to a successful robbery, so he said it is rarely done.

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