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Japan's new digital vending machines eliminate coin fumbling

QR codes become the payment method for snagging your favorite drink.

acuredigitalvendingmachine02a.jpg
Adam Bolton/CNET

Grabbing a soda when you're rushing around Tokyo can be a hassle if you lack loose change, but Acure's new coinless vending machines make it as simple as waving your phone at the built-in QR reader.

Vending machines are a common sight in Japan, and they're not limited to drinks. They sell a variety of products, from cigarettes to canned bread.

Acure's digital vending machines, including one installed this month at Shinjuku railway station in Tokyo, sport a large touchscreen that displays your options. To pay, you need the Acure app, which is available on both Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Perks of using the app include discounts for subscribing to the service, pre-selecting your favorite thirst quenchers, maps of nearby machines and nutritional information for the drinks you guzzle down. Each drink you purchase grants you a point, and 30 points gets you a free one.

You can also buy drinks for friends, who only need to wave the QR code at the machine to get their beverage of choice.

Besides vending sodas, juices and water, the Acure machines offer real-time weather and sports. As part of a promotion, Acure is giving away 15,000 bottles of water. This spring, 20 units will be installed across JR East stations around Tokyo.