By Anthony Doesburg
MSN NZ Money writer
New Zealanders are among the biggest users of EFTPOS in the world so a small business that doesn't give customers a cashless electronic payment option is shooting itself in the foot.
This is tried and true technology: EFTPOS has been available in New Zealand for 20 years, is used by about 70,000 merchants and clocks up a couple of million transactions a day.
So there is no shortage of suppliers ready to sell you an EFTPOS terminal, as an online search will show.
EFTPOS solutions: what to look for
There are a number of things to think about when looking for an EFTPOS solution:
- You should consider which of the two EFTPOS service providers, Paymark, or EFTPOS New Zealand, to sign up with. Both are bank-owned Paymark by BNZ, ASB Bank and Westpac, and EFTPOS NZ by ANZ. Which service you choose is pretty much decided by where you do your banking, since you'll find it easier to deal with the EFTPOS service that your bank has a stake in.
- What sort of terminal should you get? For a business with a deep counter separating you from your customer, a two-piece terminal is convenient.
- You might opt for a wireless device. If yours is a mobile business, an EFTPOS terminal that uses the Vodafone GPRS cellular network is the best option.
- If you don't need EFTPOS away from your premises, but don't want to be bound by a fixed terminal, Wi-Fi is another wireless option.
Needless to say, the more features you want the more you'll pay.
Rent or buy
Terminals can be bought outright, or rented, the latter being the option favoured by many small businesses. Hiring a one-piece device for use over a standard phone line will cost less than $10 a week. You're then up for the cost of the line, as well, but it can also be used for voice calls when not in use for EFTPOS.
To avoid the inconvenience of a shared line, you could get a terminal that connects via a broadband Internet connection. Phone, Internet and EFTPOS services can then co-exist without disrupting each other.
If you decide you want Wi-Fi, you'll pay about double the cost of a dial-up terminal. On top of the terminal rental there's a $9.50 a month charge for connecting it to your broadband service, then the cost of the broadband service itself.
For a fully mobile terminal, the device costs about $18 a week and the network connection about $15 a month.
Those are the hardware and communications costs, but it doesn't end there. Remembering that this is a service that will save you a great deal of cash-handling, while also letting you do business with cashless customers, you would expect to pay for the privilege.
Both Paymark and EFTPOS NZ charge $11.50 a month per terminal to use their services.
If you want your EFTPOS terminal to be able to handle credit cards as well as debit cards, your processing bank will charge you a minimum monthly or percentage-based fee. If you're doing at least $500 a month of credit card transactions, it's probably worth your while to have credit card capability.