How does OPTO work

OPTO is a full digital payment solution for the vending sector, which opens up new ways to communicate with the consumers and meet their needs. The solution consists of three elements:


The OPTO reader is a small payment unit that has to be installed on the Vending Machine front panel. Equipped with MDB protocol, the OPTO reader is virtually compatible with almost every Vending Machine currently available on the market. In addition to the configurable MDB port, the OPTO reader integrates an optical sensor and a Bluetooth module for connection to the user's smartphone. It should be noted that the OPTO reader does not contain a modem or a SIM card. Connection to the server is directly established via the user's smartphone screen. In its current version (OPTOPIT), the OPTO reader also integrates a traditional "key" system, which is totally separate from the digital solution. As a matter of fact, these are two different payment systems in the same physical unit.

Please, read the OPTO User Guide or the Quick Guide for more info.


The OPTO App is free for Android and IOS operating systems. The App allows users to register and open an Electronic Money Account, which can be refilled with a credit card or other electronic instruments. The account balance available will be used to make purchases from any Vending Machine equipped with an OPTO reader.

The smartphone connects to the reader through a sequence of colors emitted by the phone screen, which are captured by the optical sensor and interpreted by the microprocessor within the reader. After the color signals have been recognized, the OPTO reader opens the Bluetooth port and establishes a secure connection with the smartphone. Once the authentication process has been completed and the smartphone is connected to the Vending Machine, the OPTO reader will automatically prevent any other devices from making a purchase. The technology used to establish communication between phone and reader through the color sequence is patented.

Once the connection has been established, the account balance - also displayed on the VM LCD - is made available to make a purchase at the selected Vending Machine. The user will now select a product. If there is enough money on the Account and the product selected is available, the Vending Machine will complete the vend and the Account balance will be reduced by the price of the product. Once the purchase has been completed, the user can decide to buy another product or terminate the connection. If no action is taken, the OPTO reader will automatically cut the connection after a certain period of inactivity.

The App also enables users to create and manage a Limited Spending Account (the so-called electronic wallet), which can be refilled with cash from any Vending Machine controlled by the same operator. The electronic wallet is totally separate from the Electronic Money Account, since the wallet can only be used to make purchases from Vending Machines under the same vending operator. Users are guided step by step when creating and managing the electronic wallet.

In addition to the payment functions, the App makes it possible to customize the user experience, search in the purchase history, store transaction receipts and receive news, notifications and offers of interest. Other features are still under development.


The server is the intelligence and the system storage area, and it is housed in a secure and certified data center. The server communicates with both the App and the OPTO reader to ensure constant data alignment.

The server also controls information flows with the certified external partner, Mangopay S.A., an E-money issuer authorized to operate throughout the European Union. Being an issuer, Mangopay creates and manages all Electronic Money Accounts. Mangopay belongs to the French banking group Crédit Mutuel ARKEA.

The vending operator can connect to the server through the OPTO website to have complete view and control over the situation of his/her Vending Machines and get, among other, sales and consumption statistics. The operator can also check the balance of his/her Electronic Money Accounts and order transfer of funds.