A company in Germany is installing vending machines that dispense gold bars and coins, instead of the usual snacks and candy bars, in the nation’s airports and railway stations.

TG-Gold-Super-Markt's director, Thomas Geissler, believes that as the credit crunch continues to bite, more and more people will buy gold rather than investing in other traditional methods, like stocks and bonds.

The time has now come for people to think about investing in gold. It is a good thing to have in your pocket in these uncertain economic times, Geissler told Sky News Online.

Solid gold is the ultimate universal currency, held by banks throughout the world and as the current global financial crisis leaves investors skittish about the stock markets, many investors are playing it safe by investing their wealth in gold bullion.

Gold prices from the machines – about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product – will be updated every few minutes.

Customers using a prototype Gold to go machine at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday had the choice of purchasing a 1g wafer of gold for €30 ($42), a 10g bar for €245 ($340), or gold coins.

As a test, the Financial Times bought the cheapest product and reported it was dispensed in an oblong metal box labelled My Golden Treasure, with a certificate of authenticity signed by Geissler. However, no receipt was issued and they received the wrong change.

Geissler said he hoped to have a more advanced machine later this month.