The electronic payments industry is changing

New Zealand was an early adopter of eftpos, but mobile payments have struggled to gain a foothold.
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New Zealand was an early adopter of eftpos, but mobile payments have struggled to gain a foothold.

Imagine a store where customers walk in, pick up what they need, and walk out again – all without waiting in line or paying a cashier.

It sounds like something that would never happen, right? Too many complications and security issues? Too futuristic?

Wrong. This exact formula is already working for the original online retailer, Amazon.

Amazon Go is a concept brick-and-mortar store in Seattle, Washington, United States, which has no checkouts - you can literally walk in and grab what you need and walk out.

How is this possible? As you walk into the store, you scan the Amazon Go app on your smartphone. All products have an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag that is remotely scanned as you leave the store, payment is then debited from your account as you walk out.

It's not just some futuristic payment, it's a reality, but unlikely to be available any time soon in New Zealand, if current trends are anything to go by.

An early adopter of eftpos and still with the highest amount of payment terminals per head of population anywhere in the world, New Zealanders have been slow to adjust to new forms of electronic payment.

Contactless payments such as payWave are gaining a foothold in New Zealand, and while near field communication (NFC) technology based mobile wallet applications have been available overseas since 2008, they have struggled to emerge in the New Zealand market place.

Even upgrading to the latest security software is a struggle.

The New Zealand Payment terminal is complex and while emerging technologies drive change, the biggest drivers for change here are industry regulated compliance mandates which protect the security of the payment transaction. These mandates are a permanent and ongoing part of the eftpos terminal landscape, generally updated yearly. Retailers who operate eftpos must comply with these mandates for both hardware and software.

Currently New Zealand is in the midst of a major upgrade affecting both hardware and software of eftpos terminals, with Paymark requiring eftpos terminals still running the Paymark Software version 6.1 or 2013 or hardware version PCI-PED 1.3 to be updated or replaced.

The i5100 and the i7910 payment terminals are at the end of their life.
EFTCO/SUPPLIED

The i5100 and the i7910 payment terminals are at the end of their life.

On May 1 eftpos terminals still running these versions will be cut off and terminals will no longer be able to process eftpos transactions. With only a few weeks left before the deadline, 15,000 eftpos terminals still require updates. Retailers who delay or refuse to upgrade are only doing their business a disservice.

While many businesses have received various communications from Paymark in regards to this upgrade, some businesses are not aware that an upgrade is required and will most likely only find out when their terminal stops working in May.

It's not all bad news though - upgrading to the latest hardware and software is the next step towards more sophisticated payment technology being available in New Zealand.

The vx510 and the vx670 are end of lines and will need to be replaced before May 1.
EFTCO/SUPPLIED

The vx510 and the vx670 are end of lines and will need to be replaced before May 1.

Recent advertising around contactless payment and pay by mobile technology is increasing. Awareness of contactless and mobile payment technology in supermarkets and larger retail stores - traditionally early adopters of new technology - is an encouraging sign. These larger stores help drive the implementation in other industries and businesses around the country.

Whilst we have the technology for an Amazon Go type store in New Zealand, we currently lack the demand. Given our history you'd expect that to change, but how and when that will happen - only time will tell.

Eftco, a specialised eftpos and payments solutions provider, can offer you more information and advice on what hardware and software needs to be updated by April 30. Visit eftco.co.nz for more information.

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