Demand for mobile Eftpos goes up with crisis

Demand for mobile Eftpos terminals in Auckland's central business district increased by between 200% and 300% last week, says Eftpos Corporation director Peter Thomas. The battery-powered terminals, which use the 021 and 025 networks, can be used without power and when the telephone system goes down. A small printer is attached.

Demand for mobile Eftpos terminals in Auckland’s central business district increased by between 200% and 300% last week, says Eftpos Corporation director Peter Thomas.

Thomas says the battery-powered terminals, which use the 021 and 025 networks, can be used without power and when the telephone system goes down. A small printer is attached.

“They’re very popular at present. We’re having to work extended hours. It’s just about the only option available, I suppose.”

Thomas said last week that the company had enough machines to meet demand. “But if demand continues the way it’s going we might become a little short.”

He says it is important to keep businesses running, and Eftpos has become an integral part of shopping. “We’re a society now where we expect to use plastic — if we carry cash, it’s very little.”

Businesses without power can also use the old “zip-zap” machines for credit cards and telephone for verification.

As at Computerworld’s deadline no banks had reported major problems with their computer systems, or with Eftpos or wage payments. Most banks had relocated staff to other branches and in areas such as business banking, some functions have been moved to Wellington.

National Bank spokeswoman Cynthia Brophie says one of the biggest problems the bank has is with the telephone system.

“It means re-routing all the numbers and we’ve just now organised that so we can call the same number that you would ordinarily, but you would get re-routed in a different direction to reach the party. For us the challenge has been more getting the telephones sorted out.”

The bank’s telephone banking centre was still operating early last week, but it was expected to lose power eventually and calls would then be redirected through to Wellington.

Brophie says there may also be delays in micro-processing for some centres north of Auckland. She says the computer system has not suffered any problems.

BNZ spokesman Rowan McArthur also says the phone system has been a challenge, with calls being re-routed. “Tele-phone-based customers in Auckland are probably going to suffer some delays,” he said last week.

An ANZ Bank spokeswoman said the computer system was unaffected. Major services like telephone banking are located in Wellington and Newmarket.

WestpacTrust communications manager John Anderson says the bank had a few problems with central city ATMs. “They were up and down because of the intermittent power supply.”

Countrywide Bank marketing manager Graham Walmsley also reported relatively smooth sailing with regards to computer systems.

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