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The great thing about owning vending machines that accept cash is fanning yourself with dollar bills, rolling around in a bed of bills, and leaving fat cash tips everywhere you go.

The bad part about accepting cash is as follows...

  1. INCREASED MAINTENANCE. The majority of maintenance issues your machine will suffer from are cash-related. This includes bill jams, bills ripping inside the machine, coin jams, people shoving foreign coins or strange objects into the coin slot, your coin mech running out of coins and refusing to accept bills leading to customer confusion and rage.

  1. DEALING WITH COINS. If you want to accept cash, be prepared to lug heavy coins around with your on your route. A cash-taking machine must have a working coin mechanism, even if everything you sell is in whole dollar increments. If your coin mech is too low on coins, it won’t accept dollar bills. How low is too low depends on the price of products you are selling.

Ex.) If the most expensive thing in your machine is $5, you need $5 worth of coins in your machine, or else it will not accept $5 in paper bills. Having $5 in coins is pretty easy and doesn’t require a high, capacity coin mech.


Ex.) If the most expensive thing in your machine is $20, you need $20 worth of coins in your machine, or else the machine will not accept $20 in paper bills. Consistently keeping more than $20 of change in your machine will be hard without a high-capacity 4 or 5 tube coin mech.

  1. MORE EXPENSIVE COIN MECH and BILL READERS. A nice 4- or 5-tube coin mech can cost twice as much as a standard 3-tube mech. Same is true for bill readers that accept all bill denominations versus bill readers that are 1s-only.

  1. REPORTING LIMITATIONS. Newer machines (including newer refurbished machines), can provide you with nightly sales reports of all your cash and cashless transactions. Old machines can’t. However, when you put a card reader in an older machine, the card reader can give you nightly sales reports of the cashless transactions.

If keeping a comprehensive count of everything that has sold in your machine is important to you, you’ll want a newer machine that can report all sales or an old machine that is cashless & reports cashless sales.

Why would you want a comprehensive count? For one, it will help you time your restock trips more effectively. And 2nd

5. EMPLOYEE TRUST ISSUES. If your machine accepts cash and doesn’t have a comprehensive sales tracking system, you will have no easy way to know how much cash should be in your machine. This makes hiring employees or leaving your machines in the care of others tricky.

6. MORE COMPLICATED ACCOUNTING. If you accept cash, for your own records you really should keep track of your cash sales per machine. This isn't necessary for tax purposes, but it's necessary for you to have a complete picture of how various machines are performing relative to each other, so you know if a particular location is a dud and whether you should relocate. Keeping accurate cash records requires a system and diligence. Without it, you don't have a all the information you need to understand your business and make informed decisions. If you go cashless, you vending machine or card reader will handle this accounting for you.

There is no right answer as to whether you should accept cash or not. Cashless is easier. But tossing dolla bills in the air and feeling like a mogul is fun.

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