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A system and method for accumulating and accessing credit via a vending machine

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198396D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This invention will allow vending machines that recognize exact change is needed to honor a purchase by offering the user the ability to store the excess credit in the machine. The purchaser can then elect to use this credit at a later date. The invention can be enhanced to allow the consumer to transfer the funds to another electronic account, for example pay-pal, or if the vending machine is part of a network, use the credit at a machine in another location.

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A system and method for accumulating and accessing credit via a vending machine

When a vending machine is unable to provide change, instead of informing the purchaser that it cannot honor the request, it will instead prompt the purchaser if they would like to have the machine store the excess funds which can then be accessed at a later date. This is similar to the concept of the purchaser buying a gift card from a retailer. If the purchaser agrees to store the excess funds, their current sale will be processed, and the vending machine will provide a receipt to the user indicating the credit amount, and the pin key that is necessary to access the credit. Since modern vending machines have keypads, the ability to for a user to enter this pin is trivial.

Vending machines that are part of a network, can allow the credit to be transferred from one machine to another.

Example Scenarios:

Scenario 1:
1) User decides to purchase an item costing 85 cents.
2) User inserts a 1 dollar bill into machine.
3) User enters key code that matches the 85 cents selection.
4) Machine detects that it is unable to provide the 15 cents change to the customer. Instead of voiding the sale, the machine informs customer that it cannot make change at this time and asks customer if they would like to store the extra funds as credit in the machine.
5) User elects yes, and machine provides the item user purchased, and a receipt to user showing pin code which can then be used at a later purchase to access the 15 cents that was credited.

Below is a flow diagram of a possible implementation.

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Scenario 2:
1. User1 needs to purchase snacks from a vending machine but does not have enough money and also does not have any or enough credit with the vending machine.
2. User1 contacts User2, who is in a different building, but the same campus and asks for assistance to help pay for the snack. User1 may ask User2 for the amount that is needed. This amount that is needed by User1 from User2 may be less than the cost of the snack and User1 will need to provide the difference necessary to pay for the snacks.
3. If User2 has enough money or enough credit, User2 may either pay for, or apply part of that credit toward, the new...