Google Wallet will soon be heading to a vending machine near you. The NFC-enabled payment system lets you make purchases with a simple tap of your smartphone. It can also deliver coupons and rewards directly to your phone. Terminals with NFC support will be deployed to the vending machines starting in NYC, Chicago, D.C., and San Francisco.
The Google Wallet terminals will be deployed by Cantaloupe Systems, which provides tech services for several vending machine operators. One company, Mark Vend, operates about 2,000 vending machines in the Chicago area and plans to install NFC terminals with Google Wallet support in half of its machines by 2012. The machines with Google Wallet will feature prominent stickers to differentiate them from regular machines.
However, adoption of Google Wallet still has a long way to go. The payment system was first announced back in May, but it only works with Sprint's Nexus S 4G at the moment. And even with vending machines, Cantaloupe has so far only installed NFC in about 6,000 machines out of the 80,000 machines in its network. There are about six million vending machines across the nation.