Automatic Merchandiser

AUG 2015

Automatic Merchandiser serves the business management, marketing, technology and product information needs of its readers including vending operators, coffee service operators, product brokers, and product and equipment distributors in print.

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No credit information is stored on the kiosk/check out stand so even if the kiosk was stolen the thief could not get any credit card info, but they would get the cash. We would still of course keep those funds on all the cards and just deal with the loss." If an employee is terminated, Leider works with the human resource department to return the employee's funds or, in some cases, connects directly with the employee to return market card funds. "We have never had to execute a large scale refund, say, if a large plant closed down, so that might be diffcult if that happens in the future, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it." There are instances, however, where the micro market provider holds the funds, rather than the operator, at which point the opera- tor is not liable for the incoming and outgoing funds. They are also not responsible for the money manage- ment aspect. "We hold the card bal- ances for all consumers with pre-paid cards," said Jim Mitchell, president of Company Kitchen. "In so doing, the operator is not hassled with manag- ing balances, refunds and transac- tion inquiries." Although money management can be a huge aspect of pre-paid accounts, getting the money into the accounts in the frst place is known to be a bigger task. "The only ini- tial challenge is effectively getting the bulk of the employees signed up with market cards and getting that loyalty card in their hand," said Ely- ssa Allahyar-Steiner, vice president of sales and marketing at Avanti Markets. "You have about 30 sec- onds to explain at grand openings the great benefts of the market card and why the employees should have one and so you want to maximize that 30 seconds." Security is a concern for some consumers at the beginning. "Some of our customers are a little con- cerned at frst about leaving money on their accounts," said John Ward, president of Serenity Vending and Three Square Market operator. "But then they realize the advantages of prepayment, that it allows for them to actually track their transactions and really see what they are spending." Long-term advantages Despite beginning challenges, pre-paid accounts/cards are something every operator should be promoting. "Pre- paid market cards are micro market operators' single biggest beneft," said Joe Loparco, vice president of sales at REVIVE. Alongside the fact that operators get the money upfront, pre- paid cards can offset credit card fees. Another advantage is the ability to segment consumers and target market groups and individual consumers. "In today's PCI compliant environment, you cannot track transactions to an individual when they use their credit card, however, you can when they use a pre-paid card," continued Mitchell of Company Kitchen. These promotions can also lead to higher loyalty and customer engage- ment, especially because operators may utilize customized promotions Dormant accounts Micro markets have been around for several years now and as employees come and go, there is the question of what happens to market card funds that are not used? When an em- ployee leaves a company or is terminated, they are likely to retrieve what's left on their card, but not in all cases. For example, if $1.25 was left on the card, the employee may or may not ask for those funds back. In the case that they do not, what happens to the money? It's not much if one employee does this, but suddenly what hap- pens if hundreds of employees are leaving small amounts of money on their card? "In almost all states, any remaining money that is un- claimed on these market cards will need to be turned over their State as dormant funds to be held by the State until claimed by their owner," said Jim Brinton, CEO of Avanti Markets. "This is normally after two to three years, sometimes longer. If an operator builds a small inactive monthly fee into their market card agreement which may be assessed after a long period of inactivity, the small amount of funds remaining on these market cards will be depleted via this charge and the money will in essence go into the operator's pocket instead of potentially sitting for years in their State's fund. And it will save the operator a signifcant amount of paperwork needed to be done when turning dormant money over to a State." Jim Brinton '' At grand openings you have about 30 seconds to explain the great benefts of the market card and why the employees should have one. '' Elyssa Allahyar-Steiner, vice president of sales and marketing at Avanti Markets 20 Automatic Merchandiser VendingMarketWatch.com August 2015 M I C R O M A R K E T S E C U R I T Y

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