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Isis’ presence grows via vending machine partnershipBy Chantal Tode
Vending machines in Austin, TX, and Salt Lake City, UT, have begun accepting Isis Wallet as a form of payment, enabling users to tap their phones to make a purchase.
As of Sept. 30, approximately 50 percent of the 117,400 vending machines in the two cities were NFC-enabled via USA Technologies Inc. ePort Connect service. The goal is to have up to 7,500 of these vending machines accepting mobile payments via Isis Wallet.
“Fewer people, particularly the younger generation, carry change or dollar bills in their pocket and, increasingly, we opt to take our phone with us on a walk vs. our own wallets that hold our credit cards,” said Veronica Rosa, vice president of corporate communications and investor relations at USA Technologies Inc., Malvern, PA.
“The vending industry needs to ensure that they don’t miss the multiple opportunities for consumer engagement at the POS that are available today,” she said. “Examples are basic credit/debit cards acceptance and mobile payment acceptance.
“Both of these payment mechanisms provide the vending operator with increased opportunity to carry higher priced products or to attract more revenues as consumers take advantage of the opportunity to multi-vend.”
Isis Wallet launched on Oct. 22 in Salt Lake City and Austin. The joint venture between AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA uses NFC technology embedded in some smartphones to enable contactless payments retailers such as 7-Eleven, Foot Locker, McDonald’s, Macy’s, The Home Depot and Jamba Juice.
NFC-enabled payments can simplify the shopping and paying experience for consumers by enabling them to pay for purchases by tapping their phone on wireless point-of-sale terminals.
Consumers who download the Isis Wallet app on a handset that works with NFC will be able to open the app at a participating retailer or vending machine, enter their PIN and tap their phone at the POS terminal to pay.
“Isis Ready” signs are appearing at merchant locations and vending machines to let shoppers know they can use the Isis mobile wallet to pay.
One of the challenges facing NFC payments is that there are not that many phones in the marketplace yet that feature the NFC technology. An NFC chip is embedded in many newer Android phones but is not available on iPhones.
Google Wallet is the other main competitor using NFC technology in a mobile wallet. Google Wallet is already in place in more than 100,000 in several different markets, with Its list of partners including many of the same ones as Isis, such as Coca-Cola, Footlocker, Jamba Juice and Macy’s.
“While USA Technologies is the leader in providing cashless payment and telemetry services to the small-ticket, unattended market, the industry is largely still a cash-based industry – adoption of cashless in the low single digits,” Ms. Rosa said.
“Market adoption, therefore, needs to be accelerated and I believe mobile payment will be an important driver,” she said.
“In terms of Isis, for example, just the increased marketing support generated by their launch is great business for vending operators – something they have never had before! And, as consumers get intrigued by using their mobile phones to pay… more and more vending operators, are going to recognize that having a cashless payment capability is good business.”
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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