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Vending Machine Security: Do vending machines have cameras?

Vending machine security is a pressing issue. Here’s how camera technology can help keep it safe.


Security is a very important aspect of owning vending machines. It is essential to protect the stock and vending machines in order to ensure the profitability and overall success of the vending business. One key component of this is security cameras. Having camera installed in or around the vending machine can help prevent theft and vandalism, and also ensure customers feel safe using the machine. Below, we’ll dive into the intricacies of vending security and camera technology, and provide an answer to the question “Do vending machines have cameras?”

How Safe Are Your Vending Machines Off the Shelf?

When vending machines first leave the factory where they are produced, they are equipped with something called transport locks. These locks are not very secure, and their main purpose is just to keep the door closed while the machine is transported to its next location.

The problem arises when vending business owners do not change these locks before stocking, say beverage machine, with drinks and making it available to the public. They will be incredibly easy targets for anyone looking to avoid paying for their food. In order to properly secure vending machines from unauthorized access or even opening the machine without a key, the locks must be changed whether the machine is brand new or purchased secondhand.

Do Vending Machines Have Cameras Built Inside?

Hidden security camera from close up

Vending machines can have surveillance cameras built inside them, but it isn’t a guarantee for many vending machines. Typically, a security camera is one of the standard features of modern, smart vending machines, as their technology is more advanced in general. Camera technology can also be preordered as a feature in a custom vending machine. In addition to surveillance camera technology, they may also have facial recognition technology and the ability to scan and read QR codes without interfering with customers' buying habits.

However, many vending machines, even those that are outdated, will also have security cameras inside them; unlike QR codes they can easily be installed at any time throughout the life of your vending machines.

Where Can You Place a Vending Machine Camera If You Don’t Have Any?

If your vending machines do not have security cameras built into them, and there isn’t a security camera anywhere else in the space, it is a smart idea to look into placing your own camera for remote monitoring purposes. You can do this in one of two ways, and generally, vending business owners will need a professional to assist with this task.

Inside the Machine

The more subtle option for video surveillance is to install a security camera directly into your vending machine. Pinhole cameras can be installed at the top of vending machines and offer a great view of the people interacting with the machine.

In many cases, these pinhole surveillance cameras are so unobtrusive, people don’t even know they are being watched. While this isn’t as effective as a deterrent for vandalism and theft, it does prevent the thief from taking measures to obscure the camera’s view. This way, you’ll be able to use the video footage to bring them to justice.

Outside the Machine

If installing a camera directly into your vending machines is not an appealing option, you can choose to install a larger camera in the vicinity of your vending machines instead. Depending on the sophistication of the camera, this option may cost more money. However, it is a worthwhile investment, as these cameras can record transactions from multiple machines at once and cover the surrounding areas as well.

Although these cameras are more visible than pinhole cameras inside the machine, they are more effective deterrents for crime and will save you money on repairs while protecting the cash from your sales. Plus, since the entire area is monitored, you can use a single camera to create a fully-monitored space for multiple vending machines.

The best placement for exterior cameras is high up on the wall or affixed to the ceiling, preferably in a corner of the space. This will make it hard for people to interact/interfere with the camera, and it also ensures a spectacular view of the entire environment.

What to Look for In Cameras for Vending Machines

A vending machine at a metro station at night

Every vending machine business owner can benefit from security cameras around their vending machines, but choosing the right camera is incredibly important. Any customer service representative from a camera company can help you purchase the right camera for your environment, but there are a few key features that are necessary for the surveillance of vending machines.

1. 720p Resolution & 25-30 Frame Rate: These are the minimum standards of operation for a vending machine camera; meeting (or preferably exceeding) these specifications will ensure the footage from the cameras installed is of high enough quality to provide a good image of the people interacting with your vending machines. This is important in case it needs to be used for facial recognition technology, motion detection, or other detection purposes.

2. 2.8mm to 6mm Lenses: Camera lenses can come in a wide range of sizes, but the ideal for vending surveillance is within the 2.8mm-6mm range. Vending machine cameras in this group will provide the ideal balance between their field of view and the distance they are able to detect movement—a wider angle with a shorter distance from vending machines.

3. Dome or Fisheye Style: Both dome cameras and fisheye cameras are good options for monitoring vending machines. Fisheye cameras provide a wider view angle than dome cameras, so you’ll need to assess your space to decide which style of camera is best suited to your particular location.

4. Low Light Sensitivity: Since vending machine cameras need to operate in daylight as well as nighttime conditions, a camera installed with low light sensitivity (identifiable by a low lux value) is ideal. It will offer excellent quality video in both lighting conditions. Since most vandalism and theft would theoretically take place at night, this is a must-have feature.

Get the Answers to Other Questions You May Have

Security, while important, is not the only consideration a vending machine owner needs to make as they establish and grow their business.

It is not uncommon for vending owners to get locked out of their vending machines at some point in time, but luckily, there are a few ways to access the stock and collect cash without a key. You can find the steps explained here.

Almost every vending operator will need to move their vending machines to a new location at least once. This may be after the initial purchase, or the move might become necessary in order to improve profitability for one reason or another. Moving a machine needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully, and you can read about the process here. If you still need help finding new vending locations, either for an existing machine or for an expansion with new vending machines, you can find additional resources here.

Wrapping Up

Vending business owners that choose to install or upgrade their security cameras in/around their vending machines are making an excellent business decision. Their presence can help deter criminals, and any data they collect can be used to track down any individuals that choose to proceed with theft or vandalism. Making the right decision for security has never been easier; every vending machine business can benefit from the addition of vending machine cameras, and they don’t come with many limitations.

Find More Ways To Boost Your Vending Machine Security

Vending Machine Cage: How To Protect Your Machines

Vending Machine Covers: 5 Companies You Should Know Of

A Quick Guide on Vending Machine Lock Replacement

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