BNZ device turns smartphone into card reader

By Ben Chapman-Smith

PayClip attaches to the top of most Android and iPhones, enabling people to make a payment using their credit and debit cards.
PayClip attaches to the top of most Android and iPhones, enabling people to make a payment using their credit and debit cards.

Getting paid on the job could become much easier for Kiwi businesses with the launch of a new form of technology from one of the major banks.

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has partnered up with an Australian technology company to release PayClip, a device which transforms smartphones into mobile card payment machines.

The technology would speed up the time it took for New Zealand's small and medium-sized businesses to get paid, BNZ said.

PayClip is a card reader which can be attached to the top of most Android and iOS phones and tablets through the audio jack, enabling people to make a payment using Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards.

The user downloads an app to process the payments and must have access to 3G, 4G or wifi.

Harry Ferreira, head of small business at BNZ, said the device tackled one of the big pain points for SMEs - how to manage cash flow while waiting for payments.

"This technology allows businesses to take payments on the spot and funds will be in their account as early as the next business day," Ferreira said.

"We believe this will transform the landscape of payments for small and medium businesses in New Zealand."

SMEs were increasingly looking to "un-tether" from their offices.

The likes of plumbers, electricians or vendors at a farmer's market could now easily and cheaply offer an electronic payment service to customers, he said.

PayClip has been developed by Mint Wireless, a listed Australian company which also has offices in London and Singapore.

BNZ said it was the first New Zealand bank to offer PayClip, which will be available to business customers from next month.

Those who sign up will pay a flat fee of $10 per month, plus a 3.25 per cent fee from every transaction.

Ferreira said many businesses were unhappy with the current price of eftpos terminals, which cost between $65 and $100 a month.

"It will be significantly cheaper for retailers to use this, and also guys on the road as well."

The first phase of the roll-out requires customers to write their signature on the mobile screen to authorise payments. Later phases will enable pin and contactless tap-and-go payments.

When the customer makes their payment, they can choose to receive a receipt by email or text.

Ferreira said he hoped to have "tens of thousands" of businesses using the technology within 12 months.

Last week, Vodafone announced that it had teamed up with Visa and BNZ for the trial of its new SmartPass phone app.

The digital wallet application means users can simply place their phone on a tap-and-go eftpos terminal, using near-field communication technology (NFC) to make transactions.

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