Get Paid app launched for small businesses

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 13:15 28/11/2013

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A new smartphone app launched by Westpac will help small businesses get paid on the spot, rather than having to chase up unpaid invoices.

Available on both Apple and Android platforms, the bank's Get Paid app is designed to tackle the inconvenience of dealing with cash or waiting for payments.

Westpac head of digital Simon Pomeroy said Get Paid's point of difference was that it required no hardware except the phone itself.

Instead, the client can give the merchant credit card or debit card details, perhaps by phone or email, and the merchant punches them into a secure web page on their phone.

"It means the cardholder doesn't have to be present when the payment is taken," said Pomeroy.

Five hundred businesses had already pre-registered for the technology, ranging from tradespeople through to national franchise businesses.

"Probably one of the biggest issues small businesses have is the time it takes to get paid," Pomeroy said.

Getting cash from the bank was a "pain in the neck" for customers, so most business owners ended up sending invoices.

Asked if consumers would be comfortable handing over their credit card details, Pomeroy said it was no less secure than other payment methods.

"Any customer using this is protected ... with the Westpac guarantee."

The bank is charging a pay-as-you-go fee of 3.1 per cent on each transaction, with no fixed contract or monthly charge.

That compared to BNZ's commission of up to 3.25 per cent, plus a monthly $10 fee.

The Get Feedback app helps businesses conduct brief surveys through email, social media sites like Facebook, their own websites, loyalty cards or even receipts.

Pomeroy said businesses could turn Facebook into a sales channel, but many struggled to work out how to commercialise it.

"If you're very web-savvy, you can use this [app] to start publishing good feedback, but also understanding where the service interaction breaks down," he said.

"It costs half as much money to retain a customer as it does to acquire a new one."

Pomeroy said corporates typically spent hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on their customer-feedback programmes.

The app costs between $29 and $79 a month, depending on the volume of surveys required.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said BNZ pioneered mobile device payments for small businesses. Kiwibank introduced its own "Fetch" app a month before BNZ.

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- Fairfax Media

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