NZ product 'halves' cost of ATM, EFTPOS transactions

Saves money by making transactions over GPRS

A wireless development in New Zealand has the potential to halve the cost of automatic teller machine and EFTPOS transactions.

The major banks in New Zealand and Australia are currently reviewing the Vcomms product, and there is interest in China, Chile and India.

General manager John Robins says Vcomms was set up three years ago to develop the software, hardware and security to take ATMs and EFTPOS off landlines to GSM.

“There are a whole range of applications that don’t require bandwidth but do need fast turnaround,” he says. “Financial transactions are a major example.”

“Most transactions in New Zealand and Australia are on dialup and the options are limited, with, in New Zealand, Telecom dominating. Wireless gives a lot more options. For example, Vodafone can link to 98% of merchants through GPRS.

“We’re doing tests here and with Vodafone in Australia,” Robin says. He won't say who is testing the product locally.

Robins says merchant who use dialup in the CBD are facing congestion for calls. “Our solutions will work much better in those areas.”

A merchant currently buys a dedicated line if it has enough EFTPOS transactions to warrant it. Robins says Vcomms will halve that cost, and the hardware can be amortised over five years.

“From the banks’ perspective, they buy call time from Telecom. Using Vcomms, there is a charge for the data only, which will reduce cost by 50% per transaction.”

The first product has been sold into Canada where it is being used by a chain of 1,000 service stations. The sale was done in association with Vcomms’ strategic partner, iNetco. It also has a partner in China, Chiahua Industries, which builds the units.

Robins says a small Australian company has bought Vcomms for its ATM units, and his company is in discussions with two of the major Australian banks following initial discussions with the four majors.

“In New Zealand, we’re about to start to run a small pilot at ten sites with one of the banks, and we’ve been approached by three banks to connect ATM machines.

“We’re also doing a proof of concept in China.”

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