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Ready reckoner: How do different business payment solutions stack up?

6-minute read

We’ve rounded up three of the most popular ways for solopreneurs and small businesses to process in-person payments that may help you choose the right one for you. 

What we’ll cover

What are the different types of small business payment solutions available in Australia?

Portable card reader? EFTPOS mobile app? EFTPOS machine? There are plenty of options, so what do you need to consider when choosing how to take payments? 


Which payment systems are most cost-effective? What are the best security features? And how does ease of use compare?


To help make sense of the many payment processing options available, we’ve summarised the benefits and features of each method so that you can make an informed decision about ways to take payments for you and your business. 

EFTPOS mobile app 

A standout way for small businesses to take payments, EFTPOS mobile apps are the future of payments for many sole traders and small operators. 

Ease of use

EFTPOS Air is an app for compatible Apple and Android devices that lets you take card payments using your existing eligible devices.


There’s no complicated setup and no additional hardware (or hardware costs), so if you’re a mobile business, you don’t need to remember to take or charge any additional payment equipment when you’re on the go. 


You’ll be able to accept secure in-person transactions from your customers via your existing compatible smartphone or tablet. EFTPOS Air also has built-in accessibility support to ensure you can serve all customers securely and efficiently. Check out the in-app accessibility training mode to get up to speed on this feature.


Customers can pay using major cards, and digital wallets on their phones or wearable devices. It’s also possible to track cash and direct transfer payments with the app. 

Key features

Portability and flexibility are standout features, which means how you choose to use EFTPOS Air is completely up to you.


If you’re running a small business on the go, you can use it as your primary way to accept payments and settle accounts, all from the palm of your hand.


EFTPOS Air can work as an additional in-person payment method if you run events or pop-ups, and even on busy days and during special events.


And for more established businesses operating in a fixed location, EFTPOS Air can be used alongside your regular EFTPOS terminal by simply having your phone on hand during busy times. 


A standout feature is same-day settlement to an eligible Westpac Business Transaction Account - you’ll receive your takings directly into your account once you finish your business day.


Further capabilities include stock listing, POS reporting, generating quotes, branded invoicing, discounting and surcharging capabilities, automated cloud backup, and 24/7 locally-based support. 


When you use the EFTPOS Air app, payments are processed by Westpac using security features that have been specifically developed to enable card transactions and ensure fraud protection of cardholder data.


Payments made through your mobile device will be just as secure as those made through your physical EFTPOS machines, and – unlike some other small business payment options  - automated cloud backup means your payments data is taken care of, no matter where you work. 


If your device is lost or stolen, password protection and the ability to sign out remotely from the EFTPOS Air portal also help to prevent fraud.


EFTPOS Air is an app that’s easy to download and set up on your compatible device. There are no upfront costs, terminal fees, ongoing fees, or lock-in contracts.


There are also no monthly hardware rental or purchase fees - a cost-saving in itself.


A flat fee structure (of 1.4% per transaction) may also help with cash flow forecasting, too. 

Dongles and portable card readers

If your device isn’t eligible for an EFTPOS mobile app, then dongles and portable card readers are another option as a business payment solution for accepting credit and debit card transactions on the move.


There’s a range of portable card readers on the market, so it’s important to choose the right one for your business. 

Ease of use

Card readers and dongles can be light and portable, but in all cases, you need to remember to pack the hardware if you're working on the go.


Card readers have a battery that needs charging (alongside your phone battery if you’re using a mobile device attached) as well as connectivity to work. Card readers use Bluetooth connectivity, so watch out, as pairing can be a challenge. 

Key features

Portable card readers have the ability to accept in-person contactless and chip EFTPOS card payments, including mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. 


Some portable readers include features that can help with real-time inventory and reporting. Be sure to check if same-day settlement is a feature on the payment option you are considering, or if there are any fees to receive same day settlements. 


End-to-end data encryption helps to keep every transaction secure as soon as it’s received. Devices can be security hardened, so that data is wiped clean if someone tries to tamper with them.


Fraud protection is built-in, and transactions are typically monitored for suspicious behaviour. And, if your reader is lost or stolen, card data can’t be accessed from it, providing additional peace of mind. 


The cost of portable card reader hardware varies. Simple readers usually have an upfront cost, which can set you back from about $60.  There could also be a fee per tap.


With different models and benefits, it’s important to ensure that your hardware comes with a warranty and free returns. Make sure you look into the service and support you get, in case something breaks or goes wrong, especially on a weekend or out of hours. 

EFTPOS machines

Australians were introduced to EFTPOS machines back in 1984, and Westpac was the first bank in the world to offer it as a payment solution. It’s not hard to see why it’s still a popular way for businesses to accept payments today. 

Ease of use

An EFTPOS machine or terminal that integrates with your POS system can facilitate fast and reliable card payments. 


Some machines still require manual price entry. While others can integrate with your POS, saving time and possible errors. By selecting or scanning your product or service, the purchase amount simply appears on the termianl’s screen.

Key features 

EFTPOS machines usually connect via mobile networks or Wi-Fi. 4G backup connectivity can automatically switch on if your internet goes down, so you’re always covered. 


With Westpac EFTPOS machines, your takings will appear in your linked account instantly following a single settlement each day.


There’s also 24/7 local merchant support, and replacement terminals can be provided within four hours in metro areas. 


Features including POS integration, the ability to split bills, pre-authorisation, tipping, refunds, email receipts and accessibility options boost EFTPOS machines as a payment method. 


EFTPOS machines with Westpac start from $24 for monthly terminal fees. There’s also a simple flat rate of 1.2% on all eftpos, Mastercard®, Visa® and UnionPay transactions. 


EFTPOS payments are tokenised (card numbers are replaced with unique digital identifiers), so payment information isn’t shared with third parties, and details stay secure. 


In summary, if you're a small business that's often on the move, there are now a number of business payment solutions available to choose from with a variety of different features and benefits.


Choosing the right way of accepting payments for your business will come down to carefully assessing your own objectives and unique requirements. 

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Things you should know

Westpac’s products are subject to terms, conditions, fees and charges; and certain criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs; and consider if the product is right for you.


Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association.


Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. UnionPay is a trademark of UnionPay International Co. Ltd. Google Pay is a trademark of Google Inc. Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.


This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.