Paying on the go leaps forward

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 12:20 07/08/2014

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A new electronic payments technology could ensure everyone pays their fair share of a boozy BYO restaurant bill, without having to get up from the table.

ASB has introduced a New Zealand-first gadget called Accept mPOS (mobile point of sale), which enables businesses to receive wireless payments on the spot.

When paired up with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch via Bluetooth, it can accept Eftpos and debit-credit cards using a magnetic stripe, chip, or tap-and-go.

The ability to accept payment in any form means ASB has leapfrogged its rivals in the rapidly evolving field.

BNZ had originally planned to roll out a fully integrated upgrade of its Payclip dongle in March or April, but that has been delayed until later in the year.

ASB's other point of difference is the payments interface it uses, with the phone app allowing extra functionality like bill-splitting and tipping.

Diners will be able to pay individually using whichever method they want without having to queue at the counter.

The software also allows merchants to instantly email receipts, with a print-capable device for those who prefer paper.

ASB's executive general manager of technology and innovation Russell Jones said the bank was formally launching the product at the end of the month, but many merchants were already using the service successfully.

Jones said the pricing of the service had not been finalised, but the idea was to offer a variety of options in the same fashion as existing Eftpos terminals.

That could include buying the devices, leasing them, or clipping the ticket on transactions.

Jones said the next phase would involve further improvements to both the hardware and software, with the ability to add more apps.

Some industries could have purpose-built features, for example allowing tradespeople to log a job's completion or create a summary report.

Jones said user testing had shown people preferred the companion device to be separate from the phone, rather than physically plugged in like existing products.

Other banks including ANZ, Westpac and Kiwibank also offer apps that allow businesses to collect payments on the spot, using a phone.

However, they are not as convenient in that customers have to manually input card details, rather than swipe or touch-and-go.

Local tech firm Optimizer HQ also offers a plug-in dongle similar to BNZ's, and said it would be making a further announcement soon.

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