German cigarette vending machines nearly always equipped with NFC terminals for cashless payment by SECO

Digitalization has now also arrived in the field of modern cigarette vending machines. One reason in particular is the advantage of the practical use of modern NFC terminals for contactless payment.

By the end of 2020, more than 10,000 cigarette vending machines in Germany will be operating with NFC (Near Field Communication) terminals, and almost all of them will come from SECO. "Sales at vending machines equipped with NFC terminals is currently developing significantly better than at other outdoor vending machines," says Dr. Stephan Speckgens, Managing Director of Hall Tabakwaren. The reason for this is the simplification of the purchasing process via the in Germany required integration of age verification in the cashless payment process.

"Currently, contactless payment accounts for around 30 percent of total sales in the industry - and the trend is upwards," Speckgens continues. Equipping vending machines with contactless payment terminals for outdoor use, however, poses certain challenges for established terminal manufacturers. For example, in addition to age verification, the special requirements regarding energy consumption and protection against vandalism must also be met.

For this reason, the KarL4, a contactless payment terminal for the girocard, from SECO is used almost exclusively when equipping cigarette vending machines with NFC technology. This solution, which has been approved by the German banking industry, enables customers to pay amounts securely and intuitively with their girocard without entering a PIN. The reader unit and the separate controller for the contactless payment system can be installed quickly and flexibly. Only five holes are required on the respective vending machine housing to attach the reader unit. Large cutouts in the housing are not necessary, preventing unauthorized tampering and maintaining security. Since the controller is located inside the device housing, the system is also optimally protected against vandalism and the effects of the weather. This is a requirement that other manufacturers, who usually offer standardized products for the world market, have not yet been able to meet.

Age verification for modern cigarette vending machines

Another requirement of the technical vending machine committee (TAA) - an expert committee of the BDTA (Bundesverband Deutscher Tabakwaren-Großhändler und Automatenaufsteller e.V.) is age verification for the dispensing of goods. With KarL4, this requirement is already met today: Because the solution can be set to prevent the dispensing of certain goods to underage. This means that the requirements for the protection of underage when paying with the girocard can be easily met at the self-service machines.

NFC terminals offer further advantages

However, the reasonable use of modern NFC terminals and telemetry not only offers advantages in terms of attractiveness during the payment process. Digital technologies can also be used to optimize the proactive management of vending machines. Cloud-based telemetry solutions, for example, which are also offered by SECO, always provide up-to-date status and sales information about the installed vending machines. This improves the availability of the vending machine and allows it to be stocked more in line with demand.

"With KarL4, we have developed an innovative and secure system for contactless payment of small amounts "Made in Germany"," explains Matthias Fricke, Managing Director of SECO. "In combination with our cloud-based telemetry solutions, we believe we are well equipped for the future."