Former Google Wallet chief Osama Bedier has turned up as a director at PayRange, a startup that builds dongles that can be attached to vending machines to enable them to accept mobile payments.
Their dongle is unlikely to include GSM function (it's hard to get a decent signal strength inside a vending machine without an external antenna).
Most likely, they use Bluetooth or WiFi Direct and do all the processing in the cloud. That means they rely on the Net connection. I am not sure about the US, but in the UK most vending machines are located in "hard to reach" places with poor GSM reception.
Other than that, it's a cool concept (if they know how to target that fragmented market).
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© Finextra Research 2014