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Canadian Cash? No Problem

Dual Currency Acceptor Targets Canadian Market


April 30, 2008
By Stacy Bradshaw


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Whether they’re buying a bag of chips from a vending machine or purchasing a sit down meal at a dine-in restaurant, tourists are significant contributors to Canada’s foodservice industry.

Dual Currency Acceptor Targets Canadian Market 

17Whether they’re buying a bag of chips from a vending machine or purchasing a sit down meal at a dine-in restaurant, tourists are significant contributors to Canada’s foodservice industry.

Tourism accounts for 22 per cent of foodservice sales in Canada, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association, and a great deal of that comes from cross-border travellers from the United States.
In the 2000-2005 period, however, there’s been dramatic reduction in U.S. visitors to Canada. Many speculate about what exactly is responsible for the sharp drop, ranging from on-going world events post 9/11, SARS, the price of gas, and the perception of increasingly difficult border crossings.

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While a myriad of issues can be identified, the Canadian Tourism Commission has assured that 2006 is seeing a significant increase in U.S. travelers to Canada.

The CTC explained that only 17 per cent of American travellers noted the unfavourable exchange rate as a potential barrier to traveling in Canada.

Barry Kruger, vice president of sales for VirtuPlay Corporation, said a general rule of thumb in the vending industry is: if an American tourist or U.S. truck driver decides they want to purchase a soft drink from a vending machine, they’re going to use an American bill despite the loss on exchange.

“If they’re at a truck stop and they want a pop, they don’t care to lose the 12 per cent.”

That’s why Kruger and the VirtuPlay Corporation jumped at the chance to offer Canadian operators the Apex 5000 Series Bill Acceptor – the only one of its kind to accept both Canadian and American currencies. VirtuPlay is the exclusive Canadian distributor and service centre for Pyramid Technologies’ line of products, including the Apex 5000 series bill acceptors.

Kruger said the dual-stage format accepts bills up to 72mm-wide, which means the Apex can be configured to accept almost all currencies around the world.

For Canadian operators, this means they make up the extra 10-12 per cent on exchange.

“The operators love it; it’s a big return,” he added.

If a customer uses an American bill, the Apex accepts it at par, which means it’s treated as if it is a Canadian bill. The operator gains what the customer, presumably using the machine for convenience and not price value, is willing to give up.

Ray Keshen, director of marketing for Vendables Vending Corporation, told Kruger he was so impressed with the operation and reliability of the Apex bill acceptor, he hopes to use more Pyramid bill acceptors on his machines in the near future.

“Especially those in bordering, tourist towns and highway locations,” explained Kruger.

In addition to the dual currency acceptor, the Apex 5000 series features a software program that is easily updated from a PC or palm pilot. No plates need to be removed when a new counterfeit is detected in circulation and the software requires updating, or even when an operator wants to convert an existing Apex acceptor to the dual American/Canadian format – it’s all done via palm pilot.

And better yet, explained Kruger, “it’s free.”

As part of Pyramid’s mandate, VirtuPlay doesn’t charge Canadian operators for any update to the Apex 5000 series. Apex 5000 bill acceptors are ideal for vending, kiosk, gaming, and parking formats, according to Pyramid Technologies Inc.

“We’re really targeting the Canadian market,” said Kruger.

For more information, visit www.virtuplay.ca or www.pyramidacceptors.com.o