Newspaper Industry

Newspaper Industry Solutions

The Challenge:

To bring a locking and credit card payment system for news racks and other vending-type product distribution machines to the cellular age.

Based on our history of technological innovations for the newspaper industry, we recognized the need to evolve the news rack distribution and payment acceptance process to meet the modern consumer’s needs. Our goal was to develop a fast and inexpensive way to accept credit card payments, which would then open the news rack or distribution box for the customer to take the purchased product—all remotely.

The challenge was determining how to do it. Most communications technologies – such as WiFi, cellular, and near field communications (NFC) – are too expensive and power-hungry. Bluetooth is inexpensive and can use battery power, but it’s slow to connect.

The Solution:

Newspaper vending technologyWe developed the Smart-Rak+ system that allows fast and inexpensive payment processing via smart phone devices through a combination of:

  • Quick Response (QR) codes – with encoded product data – that are read by the phone’s camera.
  • Specially-developed software (IOS and Android) which run on the smart phone that guide the buyer quickly and easily through the payment process.


  • Codes are sent to the smart phone through email or a text message to give customers access to the door or device storing the product.
  • Communication with Amazon’s API to process payments securely over the cellular network.

Bellatrix and Amazon have partnered to process transactions through our application interface, which can handle transactions of all sizes down to micro-transactions of under a dollar.

Smart-Rak+ is easy for customers to use by following a few simple steps:

  1. Launch the newspaper application on a smart phone (and link to the appropriate account, if not already done).
  2. Scan the QR code on the newsrack using the smart phone’s camera.
  3. Click to buy. Amazon automatically authorizes (or rejects) the purchase and sends a code to complete the transaction.
  4. After receiving the code, touch the phone to the Smart-Rak+ sensor to unlock a closed device or increment a count on an unlocked rack of papers or products.

The Outcome:

The result is a unique and inexpensive system that utilizes cellular networks and smart phone technology to transmit payment information and open newspaper racks (other vending-type machines).

  • A universal solution, Smart-Rak+ uses Bellatrix’s ultra-low power technology that is compatible with all Android and iOS smart phones and all of our electronic mechs.
  • This efficient and cost-effective payment capture method can be utilized with both low-power and traditional wall-powered vending devices.
  • Credit card purchases can be charged either on an open system or to a closed system run by the vending or newspaper company, offering flexibility in branding, billing and incentives.

Because it’s so versatile and user-friendly, this technology can be applied to many applications and industries – including vending machines, newspaper racks, and other remotely located locked machines, devices or containers.