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mPOS vs EFTPOS – How do they compare

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What’s the best way to take electronic payments in New Zealand? A tried-and-true EFTPOS set up or a flexible mobile point of sale (mPOS)  – one that uses a lightweight card reader and a smartphone or tablet to connect?

The answer depends on you, your business and your plans to grow. Once you understand the ins-and-outs of mPOS and how it works, making that decision becomes a lot easier.

mPOS at a glance

  • mPOS combines a card-reading device and your smart device (tablet or phone) and turns them into a Point of Sale register and EFTPOS terminal.
  • mPOS typically has a lower monthly fees and open-contracts – but you may need to buy the card-reading device outright and pay a set-up fee.
  • You also need to provide the internet connection your mPOS will use.
  • EFTPOS has lower transaction costs and more features – you also often lease your terminal and don’t pay a set-up cost
  • An mPOS-capable terminal with an EFTPOS connection could give you the best of both worlds.

mPOS turns your smartphone or tablet into a Point of Sale register and EFTPOS machine. A number of the big banks and a few international providers offer a version of mPOS in New Zealand, and they all work in a similar way:

  • You enter a transaction into an app on your phone
  • The app sends the details to a card-reader
  • Your customer swipes, taps or inserts their card (adding a PIN if needed)
  • The app talks to your payment network
  • The rest works like any other EFTPOS transaction

For some businesses – especially those with smaller turnover – mPOS is a decent option with some handy advantages:

It’s mobile
You can take card payments anywhere you have your card reader, smart device and a cellular or WiFi connection.

It’s cheap
The monthly fees for mPOS are less than those for a fully-featured EFTPOS terminal.  But it may have higher set-up costs or transaction fees.

It’s simple
Most banks and providers try and make mPOS simple for merchants – that can mean one simple monthly bill, a flat fee for all transactions and open-contracts.

It’s integrated 
Because mPOS integrates into a basic Point of Sale (POS) app, every sale is there for you to track performance and reconcile your accounts.

It has more features:
You can do more with an EFTPOS terminal including set up surcharges or multi-merchants, take offline purchases and mail order/telephone order, do a pre-authorisation, add tips or print a receipt.

More payment options
You can accept a wide range of cards (including UnionPay and Amex).
You can also accept QR payments such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Lower transaction fees:
With EFTPOS you have the option to shop around – you can find a bank that offers a competitive Merchant Service Fee (MSF) on credit cards and choose a terminal provider. This means the more sales you do, the more EFTPOS could start saving your business over an mPOS set-up. With mPOS you are tied to the bank that provides it.

Easy to scale up
EFTPOS can grow with your business. You can integrate your terminal with a range of more sophisticated POS systems to manage stock, create reward coupons/promotions and more.  You can also change your connection type to broadband or landline.

24/7 support 
If you get a Smartpay terminal you get 24/7 New Zealand-based support for technical issues and transaction enquiries.

There is no hard-and-fast answer when it comes to mPOS versus EFTPOS, but here are a few steps to help:

  1. Understand your business and what you need from a payment solution

  2. Weigh up the costs:
    • What are the set-up costs per device? If you rent a terminal, you may not need to pay these costs.
    • Do you need to upgrade your smartphone or tablet or get a new SIM card or mobile plan to connect? What will this cost now and over time?
    • What is the monthly rental per device or user?
    • Is there a network charge?
    • What do you predict your transaction costs to be?
  3. Consider any unforeseen costs
    What if a payment device fails, what support is offered and how much would any downtime cost you?
  4. Consider the future
    Will you need more devices as your business grows, or will you need other features like the ability to take tips? Do you think your business will outgrow a basic POS system?

Answer these questions and you’ll be on track to choosing the right payment solution for you.

Need a hand?

Whether you like the simplicity of mPOS or the tried-and-true nature of an EFTPOS set up, you’ll still likely have questions. We can help with that, so just drop us a line.

Get in touch today with the team at Smartpay and ask us about what’s the right for you and how we can help you grow your business.

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