Gold to Go
Gold to Go is a product brand made by the TG Gold-Super-Markt corporation designed to dispense items made of pure gold from automated banking vending machines. The first gold-plated vending machine, located in the lobby of the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, dispenses 320 items made of gold, including 10-gram gold bars and customized gold coins. There are currently twenty vending machines installed across three continents, with the first vending machine in the United States installed in Boca Raton, Florida in December 2010. The "gold ATMs" are designed to be placed in shopping malls and airports in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Great Britain and are meant to make ordinary people comfortable with the idea of investing in gold. The vending machines update their prices to market value every ten minutes over an internet connection.
The concept was developed by Thomas Geissler, who has previously created an online platform for trading precious metals. He stated that his initial inspiration was observing the "seemingly endless" line of traditional toiletries vending machines at airports and train stations, and during his search for advertising models for an online marketplace. The initial prototype system was installed in Frankfurt in 2009, where it dispensed 1-gram pieces of gold at a 30% premium above market price.
The vending machines are covered in gold leaf, and includes a touch screen, cash and credit card slots, and a lighted display showcase. Users must scan identification for purchases exceeding 100 Euro, and any single user may only access the system three times in one day before an enforced 48 hour break to prevent money laundering. The machines are fitted "like an armored vehicle" and tested with explosives to prevent theft, and include surveillance cameras that record all transactions.
Gold bars made of 24-carat gold are sold in 1, 5, and 10 gram sizes. Other items for sale include gift boxes of gold coins with symbols such as the Krugerrand, a maple leaf, or a kangaroo, and are dispensed in "handsome" boxes. Each gold bar is sealed in plastic with an anti-counterfeit hologram label, and comes with a description of its purity and price per gram, as well as information about the sale and the company's 10-day return policy.
The German corporation plans to distribute 500 "gold ATMs" throughout airports and rail stations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. British and U.S. locations may apply for a license to host one of the machines. Franchise licensees may purchase the machines for about $28,000 and then pay TG-Gold to service the machines. The first Gold to Go vending machine in the United States was installed in Boca Raton, Florida in December 2010.
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