BNZ launches pay-on-the-go for SMEs

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 14:45 11/09/2013

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The BNZ has launched New Zealand-first technology that will enable small businesses to use their phones to accept credit card payments on the go.

The bank's PayClip device is a matchbox-sized gizmo that plugs into the audio jack of most iPhones, Android phones and other smart devices.

With the accompanying application, it allows merchants to accept payments from chip and magnetic-strip Visa and Mastercard debit-credit cards.

BNZ head of small business Harry Ferreira said he expected the new technology, which would be released next month, to revolutionise payments for many of New Zealand's 469,000 small and medium businesses.

He said it would improve cashflow by allowing businesses to untether from their offices and take money on the spot, avoiding what could often be a long wait for payment.

The BNZ is already planning to upgrade the technology to what could become a world-first fully integrated mobile payments gadget.

By March or April next year, any existing PayClip devices will be replaced with an updated "dongle" that also accepts eftpos and contactless tap-and-go payments.

Ferreira said the bank had been working hard on PayClip since last December, and the release would give it the first-mover advantage.

Those wanting to use the service need a BNZ bank account, and will pay a $10 monthly lease fee.

Each transaction will incur a merchant service fee, which will probably be set at 3.25 per cent, part of which goes to the bank.

"We'll evaluate that over time, but our view is that it's a fair and equitable rate, based on the heavily discounted $10 a month," Ferreira said.

He said the rates compared favourably with the existing "clunky" mobile eftpos machines, which charged monthly lease fees of $65 to $100.

"If you have mobile in a taxi today, you're paying anywhere between 3 and 6 per cent [on each transaction]," he said.

BNZ has stolen the lead on rival banks as well as local tech company Optimizer HQ, which is developing its own mobile payment processing device.

The only card reader in New Zealand is California-based Square, which does not accept the microchipped credit cards, which are replacing magnetic strips.

Square charges a 2.75 per cent fee on each swipe of a card, with no monthly payments. 

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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