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Professional Micro Market, Vending, & Coffee Service


The Card Reader Vending Machine: A Secure and Convenient Solution

As society shifts ever further into a cashless state, vending machines are losing business because they often require the increasingly outmoded use of cash and coins. Most people simply don’t carry currency in their pockets and handbags any longer, which means that even if they are eager to purchase a snack or drink from your vending machine, they can’t. If you want to keep successful vending machines around your business, then it’s time to switch to a card reader solution.

Card readers make purchasing much more convenient, and many financial experts have observed that people are likely to spend more money when using a card than when using cash. However, security concerns frighten many businesses away from vending machines that feature card readers. Most of these concerns are unfounded: card readers are, in fact, a very secure vending machine solution.

Vending machines aren’t easy targets for card data theft

You’ve probably heard reports over the years about credit card skimmers being installed at card payment kiosks like gas pumps or ATMs, allowing thieves to steal credit card information. While it’s true this is an ongoing and, in some places, a growing concern. But vending machines are a much less likely target for this kind of crime, primarily because there isn’t much physical space on a vending machine for a skimmer to be installed.

Skimmers are successful because people don’t realize that they have been integrated with the existing hardware – in many cases, placed directly on top of the existing card reading mechanism. The limited space on the front of a vending machine, however, would make most skimmers immediately noticeable. Additionally, the technicians sent to refill the vending machines frequently inspect and open the hardware, so a skimmer would be noticed fairly quickly if anyone tried to install one.

Another reason that vending machines don’t present much of a target for credit card thieves is because they don’t store credit card numbers. Many thieves target larger, more complex systems where multiple credit card numbers are stored so that they can steal a great deal of information at once, like when security was breached at Target. Vending machines simply don’t offer a tempting mine of information, making them relatively safe from harm.

Choose a PCI certified provider

Though a card reader on a vending machine doesn’t present a very tempting target to thieves, it’s still a good idea to put measures in place that ensure that credit card data are protected. One of the simplest ways to do this is to choose a Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified cashless vending provider. In order for a provider to become PCI certified, their entire system must be audited from end to end in order to ensure that credit card information is secure from the moment it enters the system until the transaction is complete.

Passing a PCI audit requires providers to meet strict security requirements, so you know that hiring such a provider makes your credit card data just about as safe as it can get. This reassures both you and the people using your vending machines, and protects you against liability issues that come with cashless solutions. If you want additional reassurance that a card reader on your vending machines is a safe, smart decision, make sure your provider is PCI certified.

There are multiple ways to protect your network

While protecting the credit card information being entered into a vending machine with a card reader is a big security concern, it’s not the only one that makes businesses wary of a cashless solution. Another potential problem comes from the telemetry side, where the vending machine actually communicates with a company’s system. Because the vending machine can access a business’s network, it also offers an entry point for hackers to gain access to the network as well and cause a security breach.

If a hacker can get into one system, they could theoretically get into all of them. However, this is only a problem if the vending machine is on the same network as the one a company uses to store its data files. The simplest solution to this problem is to keep the vending machines separate from any sensitive data that could be stolen. A good way to do this is to use a cellular service to put a vending machine online and in communication. This keeps it off the company’s internet and protects the network.

An internet connection can still be used if it’s the more affordable option, but the vending machine should have its own dedicated DSL, rather than sharing with the company network. For an additional layer of protection, companies can also look to a VPN, which is how many companies provide a secure connection to the internet over a public connection. Choosing a cell connection, a dedicated DSL, or a VPN are all excellent methods for protecting a company network and keeping a vending machine separate.

A card reader vending machine is low risk and high reward

As you can see, there are many ways to protect your network from any danger that a card reader vending machine may pose. Additionally, it’s fairly difficult for a skimmer to be successfully installed on a vending machine, because there simply isn’t much room to hide it. Even if a skimmer could be put on a vending machine, it’s unlikely that a thief would take the time to bother with it, because vending machines don’t offer a large store of credit card numbers for them to heist.

Customers will appreciate the convenience that a card reader can bring to your vending machine, and you will likely see a market rise in profit from your machines as a result. With the right vending machine partner, you’ll have no need to worry about security –so don’t wait to upgrade your vending machines so you don’t miss out on more profit.