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First gold vending machine shines in Spain

Source: Xinhua News Agency - Sun 28th Nov 2010

The gold dispensing machine in the Hotel Westin Palace, the first of the kind in Spain, reportedly sells as many as 30 pieces of gold each day.

The installation was an idea of the hotel's clients and also of the inventor of the machine Thomas Geissler.

At first sight, the "Gold to Go" machine resembles a typical vending machine that would be found in the streets or metros of Madrid, but it offers something far more valuable: 24 carat gold bars and coins.

Prices range from 40 to 1,500 euros per piece, but they change every 10 minutes as the machine connects to the world's gold markets to keep prices updated.

"Gold to Go" is very simple to use, as all you need to do is to select a bar or coin that you want to buy on the machine's touch-sensitive screen.

Bars and coins vary in size, design and value. Once selected, the gold appears lit up on the screen to allow the buyer to see the product he wishes to purchase.

The next step is to confirm the purchase. After the correct cash or credit payment is introduced, the machine releases the gold, which comes inside an elegant sealed black box.

After the purchase, the buyer receives a receipt with the value of the gold.

The buyer also has a guarantee of return: if he is unhappy with the price or any aspect of the gold he have bought, he can return it within 10 days and recover his money.

"Gold to Go" has a maximum amount for a person to buy without any identity registration.

That limit in Madrid is 1,500 euros, and if the limit is surpassed, the client has to introduce his passport or official identification so his details can be registered.

"The majority of clients who have used the machine up to now have done so to buy the gold as a souvenir or a special present for events such as weddings or Christmas" said Paloma Garcia, director of public relations at the Hotel Westin Palace.

The first gold vending machine was installed in May in Abu Dabi and sells 50 to 100 pieces of gold per day.

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