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A vending machine is an automated machine that provides items such as snacks, beverages, cigarettes and lottery tickets to consumers after money, a credit card, or specially designed card is inserted into the machine.

Internal communication in vending machines is typically based on the MDB standard, supported by National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) and European Vending & Coffee Service Association (EVA).

After payment has been tendered, a product may become available by:

  1. The machine releasing it, so that it falls in an open compartment at the bottom, or into a cup, either released first, or put in by the customer, or
  2. The unlocking of a door, drawer, or turning of a knob.