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Soft drink vending machines that take credit cards are slowly making their way into the USA. This week the nation’s second largest Pepsi bottler announced plans to deploy 80 credit card-enabled machines in Chicago. The machines are an expansion of the wireless vending initiative that PepsiAmericas, in conjunction with U. S. Wireless Data, started in Memphis last January with 200 machines. In addition to providing more options for payment, the new technology also connects vending machines to a wireless network, allowing PepsiAmericas to go online and view real-time vending machine status. Knowing exactly when to re-fill their vending machines and provide service will help the bottler operate with increased efficiency. PepsiAmericas says the pilot so far has produced incremental sales since customers are not limited by the cash on-hand when purchasing a Pepsi from a vending machine. The new machines will be installed at Navy Pier and Woodfield Mall.

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