MEI on Campus

by Country Sales Manager- MEI Canada
Country Sales Manager- MEI Canada
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on January 20, 2014 in Cashless | 0 Comments

MEI is well known in the vending space for providing innovative payment solutions that not only increase our customer’s profitability but enhance the consumer purchase experience.

Perhaps what isn’t as widely known is that MEI is on the university campus.  MEI is present not only in a traditional sense accepting dollar bills, coins, and credit/debit payment but we’ve expanded our capability to accept the university meal card right at the vending machine!  

In the past, these combined meal card and vending solutions were often cost prohibitive from an infrastructure and hardware standpoint because acceptance of the campus card required a separate reader from the standard credit card reader.  Now, thanks to new technology and new partners, MEI cashless products (telemeter and cashless bezels) support acceptance of university meal cards along with traditional card types for a fraction of historical costs. 

Partnering for Success
With our partner Apriva (the gateway service provider) taking the lead in creating connections to the respective meal plan card providers and universities, they are changing the traditional meal plan infrastructure to be more robust and include automated retailing. Together, MEI and Apriva have been involved with a number of student / meal card projects in the past few years, all with successful results.

One recent and notable installation was at the University of British Colombia (UBC) in Canada. A successful implementation was achieved through a joint effort between MEI, Apriva, and Vend Master (the campus vending machine operator).


More Than Cash On Hand
The benefits of this solution are experienced by all parties in the value chain. The primary vend patrons, the students, can more conveniently purchase products from vending equipment beyond cash with the addition of credit, debit, and meal program cards. 

Campus visitors, including parents and friends, are able to purchase from a vending machine using their debit or credit card now that this additional capability is part of the standard cashless bezel.  The experience is friendlier and less confusing, as all payment types are made through one device, in contrast to some machines or solutions which have  meal plan card acceptance but not credit or debit and vice versa.

The vending operator can deliver increased value to their clients while improving profits as a result of increased sales lift. As the MEI hardware is cellular based, there are no additional requirements for universities to provide network connections to each vending machine which allows for optimum vendor placement to further improving sales.

In addition, the visibility in which the university can review vending sales through the Apriva web portal offers a level of transparency never before offered. The success realized at UBC illustrates that a team effort delivered the innovation required and defined a commercialized solution.  It also demonstrates that it is a model that can be easily replicated to other universities across the country, both in the US and Canada.



An added benefit of MEI hardware in the campus solution is it's built in NFC Contactless functionality. This capability future proofs the expansion of the student / meal program card platform that will inevitably migrate toward mobile phone based payment through the use of mobile/digital wallets. It is not difficult to envision that this will become the primary payment tool for students over the next few years, as mobile payment continues to become more mainstream in traditional retail. 

To view the UBC cashless video testimonial, please click on this video link. 

Or to receive more detail on the corresponding case study, please contact Apriva.


Related Content

To read about a contactless payment event (NFC) MEI participated in last year, The Bank of Montreal Urban Picnic, check out this blog post.