It is generally accepted around the world that most business will offer the option to pay for goods and services using a credit or debit card of some kind rather than handing over cash. Refusing to accept card payments could be costing you customers as the concept of a cashless society grows in popularity. The electronic funds transfer at the point of sale (EFTPOS) payment system has been around for many years and largely remains unchanged. What is changing is the number of options available to your business for accepting and processing EFTPOS transactions. 

Accepting card payments has numerous benefits for your business including:

  • Lower cash handling costs – labour not required to handle cash
  • Lower risk of theft – card payments are straight into your account
  • Faster processing time 
  • Record keeping – card payments are automatically recorded
  • Convenience for your customers

The first card payment option to consider is the more traditional EFTPOS merchant machine issued by a bank or financial institution. 

PROS:

  • Hardware provided by the bank or financial institution
  • Acceptance of a most cards, contactless and mobile wallet payments, including Google PayApple Pay and wearables.
  • Extensive customer helpdesk support available
  • Consistency across terminals in large organisations

CONS:

  • Establishment and annual fees
  • Monthly hardware (EFTPOS terminal) charges
  • Ongoing merchant and transaction fees

For some business models the costs of a traditional EFTPOS merchant machine are considered prohibitive and therefore the rise of alternatives which operate from other platforms such as smart phones and tablets are gaining momentum in the market place. 

One such technology is the Mobile Card Readers. These involve a small card reader hardware device that connects to a mobile phone or tablet. Many financial institutions are starting to offer this solution but the major player in the United States and many other western countries is Square. 

PROS:

  • One off purchase of the hardware
  • Portable and connects to your smart device
  • Quick and convenient to use

CONS:

  • Can be platform specific ie Apple or Android
  • May not allow manual entry of transactions
  • May require a specific printer for receipt issuing

The last option for card payments is to accept them via a smart phone app. This option does not rely on specific point of sale (POS) hardware and therefore can be great for mobile or pop up businesses. PayNow for Stripe is an example of this type of service. The app allows you to charge a customer’s credit card quickly and easily using your mobile phone.

PROS:

  • No hardware purchases required
  • Accept payments anywhere
  • May support Tap transactions with NFC capable devices
  • Cheaper than other options

CONS:

  • Transaction fees will apply depending on the app and processing platform utilised
  • Funds may not be transferred same day to your account

Card payment technology continues to change at a rapid place and business owners need to keep up with various technological transformations in order to ensure they have the best systems to suit their needs. Review your payments platform regularly and do the research to identify what will match your requirements. 

Jo Coveney