By Colleen Cross
By Colleen Cross
The rapid growth of cashless payment is affecting most, if not all,
bricks-and-mortar consumer industries. Giving customers greater choice
in how they pay encourages the impulse buying urge that benefits all
merchants – especially vending operators.
The rapid growth of cashless payment is affecting most, if not all, bricks-and-mortar consumer industries. Giving customers greater choice in how they pay encourages the impulse buying urge that benefits all merchants – especially vending operators.
In this special publication within Canadian Vending & Office Coffee Service Magazine,we take a look at the state of cashless payment in Canada and what it means to the vending industry.
Our aim is not to convince you it’s time to make the leap to cashless but to draw attention to the slow but sure shift from cash to cashless forms of payment.
We’ve resisted the urge to throw numbers at you, although you’ll encounter a few statistics. Suffice it to say, and as our feature stories will illustrate, Canadians are steadily moving away from cash as a preferred form of payment.
The big three cashless payment options to watch are debit, credit and smartphone wallets. “Contactless” payment options such as MasterCard Pay Pass and Interac Flash, collectively referred to as near field communications, or NFC, appear to be overtaking the traditional swipe card as the most popular form.
But there are other forms of payment to watch such as bitcoin and fingerprint recognition (biotechniques). Innovations like these – often called “disruptors” – may be good, bad or temporary, but they shouldn’t be ignored.
Often, we take our cues from the United States, where much of the technology and many products originate. In other ways, we are ahead of the U.S. and other countries in our innovations and adoption of new forms of payment. This is the case with our relatively democratic access to debit payment.
Though it’s still early days, we have at least entered the “actively learning” phase, and, as you will see in our “Operator checkup,” some operators have tested and committed to the technology.
There has been a flood of information in the media about advancements in technology, much of it laced with jargon. It’s important not to be overwhelmed by its sheer volume. Instead, use these frequent introductions of hardware and technology options as an invitation to ask lots of questions and make comparisons.
We should remember that, although cashless payment is driven by technology, that technology was developed in the service of convenience. The vending industry was born of convenience. We are arguably the textbook definition of convenience.
If you aren’t already doing so, it may be time to do some long-term planning for your business. Think about who your customers are, how old they are and what their lives are like. Consider when and why they turn to vending machines.
Investing in cashless technology and hardware is a big step. But if you decide to take it, you may be pleasantly surprised by the possibilities it opens up when customers see your vending machines as convenient and reliable destinations.
We hope you enjoy reading Cashless Vending in Canada and we welcome your feedback.
Colleen Cross, Associate Editor