The increased Eftpos fees charged to retailers by the ANZ Bank have been good news for some Eftpos equipment resellers. However, one warns any benefits will be short-lived.
There are two main Eftpos networks in New Zealand — the one run by the ANZ and one by ETSL (Electronic Transaction Services Ltd) for the other trading banks. James Eliasen, general manager of Auckland--based The Eftpos People, says the increased fees have led to retailers contacting his company wanting to move off the ANZ network. Eftpos hardware in New Zealand is predominantly rented, and the only bank which rents equipment is the ANZ. The rest are supplied by terminal suppliers such as The Eftpos People. Eliasen says if they are renting hardware from the ANZ, they will need new hardware (as well as an account with the new bank). His company connects customers to both networks, "so some of the flow-on effects have been quite beneficial for us."
He says the company is receiving at least 10 calls of day from unhappy people enquiring how they can get on to the ETSL network. But he doubts there will be many retailers who will pass the charges on to their customers. "Obviously they'd prefer to, but if it was me I would probably change my business bank and ensure I don't disrupt my own customer base." He's unsure whether other banks will follow ANZ's lead.
Eftpos technology reseller The Eftpos Corporation has also had calls from people interested in switching from the ANZ network to the ETSL one.
However, managing director Peter Thomas says the increased fees merely bring New Zealand in line with similar fees in the rest of the world. "While charges have risen considerably, it's not the full story. We've had a situation which has effectively been zero fees [for Eftpos], if you take the hardware out of the equation."
He says there are some Eftpos companies trying to make a quick collect, but he believes it will be very short-lived. He thinks it's inevitable that other banks will follow ANZ — although it may take some time.
He also has doubts that charges will be passed on to consumers. Bank contracts with merchants don't allow merchants to pass charges on.
He says it will only be an issue for smaller companies and those with low margins, but agrees it will hit them very hard.