The rise of cashless society – is your business listening to your customers?


You will often hear a small business owner complain about the banks ‘taking their cut’ of every transaction.

The cost of having a transaction machine can feel like a big expense for some businesses; and many then pass those costs onto their customers in the form of surcharges.

However, with the introduction of tap and go technology comes numerous cost-effective options available to the small business owner – and Australian customers are loving them; a recent survey by the RFI Group reveals that 32 per cent of Australians believed they could go cashless.

The same survey shows that Australia currently has the highest use of contactless tap and go cards in the world, with 59 per cent of Australians having made a purchase using the technology.

The introduction of smartphone and tablet card readers has also changed the game for mobile small business too – plumbers, contractors, mobile dog wash businesses, gardeners and the like can now collect payments on site.

And while Australians have been slower to embrace mobile wallet payments – the RFI Group study shows only 10 percent of Australians had used their mobile wallet to make payments – that tech is also a viable alternate payment option for small business.

Business specialist, adviser and author Noel Whittaker believes all small businesses should embrace tap and go technology, while being wary of passing on any cost to their customers.

He wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald: “My pet hate is establishments that display a sign ‘no eftpos accepted under $10’.

Any restriction or surcharge that prevents a customer from paying the way they would like to pay, such as via tap and go, can become a barrier between the business and the customer. There is also often a misperception on the part of the business owner that accepting card payments costs the business more than accepting cash. However this view overlooks the considerable costs of managing, reconciling and banking cash received.

Here we have a closer look at some affordable alternative payment methods.

Tap and go systems and card readers

There are numerous, widely available tap and go systems and card readers on the market.

xPressTap’s brand new mobile app Tap2App turns the near-field communication hardware in many smartphones and tablets into a contactless card reader. You simply tap the credit or debit card onto the phone to accept payments. No additional card reading hardware required.

PayPal Here can handle tap and go, chip and PIN, magnetic swipe or manual entry payments. It’s compatible with Apple iPhone, iPad and most Android phones and tablets supporting Bluetooth connectivity.

Paymate OntheGo works with Apple and Android devices and connects to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth using a mobile app.

Mobile wallet

This is a way to carry your credit or debit card information in digital form on your mobile device, rather than a physical card. It allows payments to be accepted from a smartphone, tablet or even a smart watch. The limitations are that each financial institution relies on the use of a certain phone or operating system. For example, NAB digital wallet relies on Android-based phones and ANZ’s association with Apple Pay requires at least an iPhone 6.

There are so many options available to the small business owner when looking at payment technology; it doesn’t have to be daunting, or expensive. Just make sure you know exactly what your needs are, do some research and find the one that best suits your business.


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Mastercard seeks to help as many Australian retailers as possible, to grow their businesses by embracing all forms of payment to provide customers the choice to make transactions whichever way they want to, with no restrictions.

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