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Ahaura Hotel uses surcharging to cut costs

Shop front of Ahaura hotel

Ahaura hotel is a quaint country hotel in the south island of New Zealand. This warm and welcoming property is steeped in history and is located close to the Ahaura river on the west coast.

We had a chance to catch up with the lovely Suzie, owner of Ahaura hotel, who shared more information about how they use Smartpay’s EFTPOS solutions at their place of business.

Tell us more about Ahaura Hotel

Going right back to the 1800s, Ahaura Hotel is one of the oldest pubs in NZ. 

Suzie and her husband Rocky, took over the business from the previous owner in April this year. They manage this 10-room accommodation along with the restaurant and bar – serving delicious varieties of food from breakfast to bar snacks to pizzas. 

Most of all, this place dishes out everything with a smile and provides comfort that is reminiscent of home.

Ahaura hotel logo

How was the switchover process of your EFTPOS solution when you took over the business?

The previous owners were already using Smartpay’s EFTPOS solution when we took over the business from them”, explains Suzie. “The switchover was fairly simple from Smartpay and some hiccups we faced with the bank were soon resolved with coordination from Worldline.”

“Smartpay’s assistance throughout the entire process was really patient and helpful. Things have been pretty smooth sailing since the switchover was completed” says Suzzane.

What features do you find most useful in the EFTPOS solution we provide?

“We find the EFTPOS machine very easy to use at our hotel. We can accept all payment methods and it works quickly to process the payments,” says Suzzane.

“We also recently started to use the surcharging feature on the EFTPOS machine for payments made with paywave and credit cards”.

Ahaura hotel front with road sign

What was the main driver behind implementing surcharging?

The bill from the bank for the merchant service fees was the eye-opener for Suzzane to consider surcharging. As she explains, “We received our monthly bill from the bank and found the fees for accepting contactless payments was totaling up to a significant amount. We were paying in excess of $300 monthly to the bank!”

“But everyone loves contactless and wants to pay by tapping their card and we needed to provide this option”, she goes on to explain. 

She knew she had to keep costs down while offering the payment option at her place of business.

How easy was the process of enabling surcharge on your Smartpay terminal?

Not long after her bank bill, the June newsletter from Smartpay arrived in Suzie’s inbox explaining how the Surcharging feature helps merchants offset the costs of accepting contactless payments and credit cards. She replied to us asking for help to set up surcharging.

One of our team members was in touch the next day to set this up on the phone with her and the functionality was implemented immediately.

Suzie chose to apply a 1.5% surcharge to contactless and credit card transactions from the 5th of July which was remotely programmed into her Smartpay EFTPOS terminal.

S920 EFTPOS machine surcharge screen

How has surcharging for contactless and credit cards benefited your business?

Suzie smiles and explains, “It has made such a big difference. We were thrilled to see the reduction in bank fees and will be re-investing some of the savings in the upkeep of the property.” 

They are currently working on improving their parking lot facilities and Suzie is also keen on planting a new kitchen garden. 

How do you inform your customers about the surcharge and how has the customer experience been?

“We have signage behind the bar to let customers know about the surcharge and not a soul has questioned it to date.”, Suzie says.

She has noticed that most of her customers don’t mind the surcharge and are happy to tap and pay. “If anyone doesn’t want to pay the surcharge, they just insert or swipe their cards.”

She has a mix of young and old customers who prefer the convenience of tapping their cards to pay.

“Usually the customers who don’t use contactless are her older patrons who still carry the older EFTPOS only cards” she explains.

Suzie is also excitedly looking forward to more international visitors who are the majority that pays with credit cards. She has been receiving enquiries from the United States and the UK from tourists wanting to visit New Zealand in the near future. “It’s all very exciting for us to be able to host international visitors soon!”, she exclaims.

Customers inside Ahaura hotel bar

What would your advice be to other businesses looking to surcharge payments for their business?

Suzie explains, “You would be doing your business a favour by surcharging. As a small business owner, you need to be able to save your money wherever possible and use it for other things to run the business.”

Apart from improving the on-site facilities and adding a kitchen garden, Suzzane is pretty excited about the other possibilities of how she can reinvest her savings from surcharging.

We have seen business owners in NZ and Australia save thousands of dollars from surcharging and experience benefits like improved cash flow, higher profitability, and the opportunity to reinvest the savings back into the business. This could be adding new equipment, increasing staffing, and improving marketing measures to attract new customers.

What do you enjoy the most about being with Smartpay?

“I love that the EFTPOS terminal is very easy to use for myself, my staff, and my customers which is the most important thing to me. I also found the phone support to be very helpful and friendly. My requests were always answered quickly and I was able to get the help I needed.” 

Even when I needed to set up a surcharge, once I replied to the newsletter asking for help on how to set this up, the young man from Smartpay called me the next morning and I was all set within minutes!.”, says Suzie.

Suzie & Rocky - Ahaura hotel

Would you recommend Smartpay to other small business owners and why?

Suzie gives us a glowing recommendation and says,

 “I would definitely recommend Smartpay to all other business owners – it is just so easy to use! They have great customer service too. I have worked in hotels for years and I love being able to collect customer payments so easily using the EFTPOS terminal.”

It’s been a pleasure to assist Suzie as a Smartpay Customer, and we wish her the best with her new business in Ahaura. Check out their Facebook page here.

We love sharing our Customers’ success stories, if you have a story to share, please email us at, we’d love to hear from you!

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