Merchant Centre

Does POLi facilitate online debits from customers with dual signatory bank accounts?

Bank accounts that need dual signatures to authorise transactions

We are often asked whether POLipay can facilitate online debit payments from a customer’s bank account to your merchant account when the customer’s bank account is dual signatory.

“What does this have to do with me”, you ask? If you run an online business that deals with transactions from other businesses - this article is mostly for you.
In short, the answer is no. But there is a very good reason for this.

How POLi manages the transaction


Customers wishing to use POLi to make a payment to a merchant must use a single signatory Internet Banking account as POLi does not support dual signatory Internet Banking accounts. The reason for this is that in the case of a dual signatory account the first signatory logs in and lodges the payment, and the second signatory logs in independently and authorises the payment.  

As each step is completely independent of the other, POLi is not able to automate the entire payment transaction within a single Internet session.  For this reason,  POLi cannot facilitate any payments where two authorisations are required.

Most NZ businesses use a single signatory account


Before you worry that this is a problem, bear in mind that the majority of the 400,000+ businesses in New Zealand have a single signatory Internet Banking account associated with their business.  This means that those businesses can, and do, use POLi to make payments.

POLi has plenty of examples of merchants that operate in the business to business (B2B) space where their customers are successfully using POLi.  Some well known examples include Bunnings, Warehouse, Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Service, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand Transport Agency, Farmlands and many merchants using POLi as a payment method on their Xero invoices.

So your business can too.

If you have a number of customers who only use a dual signatory account you could follow the lead of some of our merchants who have asked their customers to approach their banks direct.  They have simply requested a single signatory Internet Banking account to be provisioned specifically for the purpose of making POLi payments. Problem solved.

Don’t put off implementing POLi

Remember, the sooner your complete the installation process for POLi the sooner your can begin receiving Internet Banking Debit payments online.

If you need a hand with anything, just get in touch with us

We’ll be glad to help.

The POLi team

Mobile Commerce and what it means to your online business



E-retailers simply can’t afford to ignore the mobile world anymore. If you have a website and it's not fully functional (and that includes online payments) on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet or fablet) you have to question whether your website is truly effective as a business channel.

Whether your website is brand new shiny out of the box or has been around for a few years, you can’t afford to take your eye off the world in which New Zealand’s online consumers are living. We live in fast, connected, mobile-enabled world and if your website isn’t part of it, you’re going to lose out.

Life is getting faster and people’s shopping habits are following suit. People shop online between doing other things (when shopping used to actually be the ‘thing’ they were doing). Whether a spot of online shopping is squeezed in on the bus to work, on a tablet while watching Sky On Demand or on the sly in the office when the boss isn’t looking, one thing is for sure: businesses that can’t keep up with the pace are going to lose the race.

2 out of 3 Kiwis now have a smartphone


2.7 million New Zealanders now have access to a smartphone (and probably a tablet as well). Do you honestly think they aren’t using these devices to shop? Clearly they are and the fact that all the leading subscription-based ecommerce platforms (Magento, Prestashop et al) are making responsive websites the norm (more on this below), just goes to show that the big boys are taking this pretty seriously. 

But what about the smaller Kiwi e-retailers? How do they step up to the plate?

The options


Depending on your budget and appetite for change, there are two main options for online stores.

Mobile eCommerce

The simple explanation.

Mobile eCommerce sites are often smaller versions of their desktop counterparts with fewer products and slimmed down functionality (eg cross sell widgets don’t feature). ‘Smaller’ in this context means less - of everything: less functionality, fewer products, fewer options, fewer pages, no advertising etc. 

From an administrative point of view this could be a winner. You just need to create a mini version of your website (cheaper than a full rebuild) and there are less pages to curate. However, the flip side of the coin is that your customers might not get exposure to all of your products, offers and specials which isn’t necessarily all that great!

Mobile websites are certainly better than nothing. But what we are interested in is responsive websites. And for good reason.

Responsive eCommerce

Responsive eCommerce is the best option because you only have to build and manage one website (rather than two) and because it will function perfectly on all mobile devices. The shopping experience is also optimal and allows customers to flit between desktop, tablet and smartphones (which they will do during the shopping process). Who wants to find a product on a desktop, save it to their wish list only to return later on a mobile phone to discover the wish list option isn’t available?

Responsive eCommerce is faster, easier to administer, costs less to maintain and offers an far better shopping experience than mobile eCommerce. It really is a clear cut winner.
How will responsive eCommerce impact my online sales?

67% of online shoppers are much more likely to purchase from a shopping site that works well on a mobile device. I would be prepared to place bets that very few consumers would be happy to complete a transaction end to end on their mobile if they have to use the desktop version of the site. 

A working example of this is with Trademe. This is a monster of a website, crammed full of products, prices, promotions you name it. Yet, it works like a dream on a smartphone. Consider the lost sales if they didn’t invest in making a mobile version of their site? 

So, go responsive or go out of business


Whether your website is a bedroom business or an international superstore (or both!) don’t put off mobile eCommerce. More and more New Zealanders are shopping online on smartphones and tablets and if they find your site, what will they see?


The POLi team

The Rise of Online Shopping in New Zealand

Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular all around the world, but the tide of change feels like it has taken its time to reach our shores.

Well no longer. It’s fair to say that online shopping has truly taken off in New Zealand with the rate of adoption picking up speed each and every quarter.

Looking back a few years, it was very difficult to find international clothing brands outside of a very few fashionable stores in Auckland. Take for example, the extremely fashionable line of ‘Next’ clothing from the UK (a popular but mid-market brand) which was for many years only available from the super-trendy ‘The Department Store’ in Takapuna, Auckland. 

Today, Next clothes are available direct from the UK online via next.co.uk/ as well as being available in New Zealand via ezibuy.co.nz

The impact on New Zealand Retailers

According to research published by MYOB in July 2013 around a third of NZ small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operated a website. When you consider that over 80% of New Zealand businesses are categorized as SMEs, it shows the potentially devastating impact that international competition could have on our home retailers.

Traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses that have been slow to embrace online shopping have suffered (and will continue to do so). By resisting investment in online channels, they have simply been unable to cater to the rapidly changing demands of savvy online shoppers. 

Even retailers that have been in business for decades and have built up a loyal customer base are feeling the effects of online shopping in New Zealand. One increasingly popular practice among customers involves examining and comparing instore and then once a choice is made purchasing that product online, often at a cheaper price. The stores manage to display the products that the potential customers would want, but they don't get any business from them. Functionally, they are displaying them for free and for the benefit of the online retailer. The reverse is also true as well (research online, buy in store), but as Kiwi's become more comfortable with online purchase we predict the former will become the dominant practice.

Customers leaving stores without purchasing anything that they've examined or tried on has always happened, but it is now common enough to be a national trend in New Zealand. Boutiques that operate locally and do not stock international brands are most likely struggling the most.

However, the change in consumer buying behaviour has allowed many smaller businesses to open online-only stores and run businesses with much lower overheads than traditional high street style shops. This has allowed them to compete with much larger businesses and remain profitable.
 
So, bad for some and good for others. 

So what’s the bigger picture?

It is still very much the big international brands that dominate the online shopping landscape in this country and, ironically, this could be protecting NZ businesses to a certain extent. 

But, whilst the sentiment that causes New Zealand consumers to ‘only buy Kiwi’ is still very much there, I believe it is really only apathy and nervousness on the part of the New Zealand shopping public that stops them from fully embracing online shopping regardless of where the retailer is based. 


There will come a time very soon where it is totally acceptable to order clothing (or anything for that matter) online from a company based in UK, that accepts payment in your local currency, offers cheap delivery within days and free returns.

But we don’t appear to be there yet.

Online Shopping and the Generation Gap

If we interrogate the data a bit more keenly, what we see is that the highest percentages of online shopping adoption is taking place with teenagers and people in their twenties. These demographics typically have lower disposable income than people in their 30s, 40s and 50s and therefore the impact is yet to be truly felt. 

I say ‘yet’ because it doesn’t take a huge amount of deductive reasoning to figure out that this trend is only going to grow. These young people will get older and will have more money to spend and more younger people will enter their teens to fill the ranks of active online shopping fanatics.

Buy why the generation gap? 

Some marketing analysts predicted the rise of online shopping over a decade ago, but attitudes about the Internet did not advance fast enough. For many of the older individuals that operate shops in the first place, online shopping is a very new and surprising cultural change. 

However, with the younger generations, the Internet has always been part of their lives. They aren’t called “Digital Natives” for nothing. 

And it is the loss of business from these people - under the age of thirty-five - that is particularly troubling for many Kiwi retailers. Younger people form one of the most important demographics for many retailers so if they are radically changing their spending habits, retailers will have to adapt.

Shopping online for a bargain

Kiwis love a bargain, and many now recognize that online shopping is often more cost-effective than shopping in person. Online retailers don't have the same overheads as bricks and mortar businesses so they can charge less but still make a profit thus attracting the thrifty shopper.

However, I predict that this behaviour will change over time. As more and more people embrace the Internet as a medium for shopping, the emphasis on price as the determining factor will lessen. People will gravitate towards online shopping as standard rather than as a cheap alternative to going to the high street.

So what about luxury items?

The more boutique stores that operate in the luxury market will have to find ways of projecting the quality of their products in an online environment. Just like they do in their physical stores. Adjusting their prices down, rather than investing in new channels, could be a fatal mistake. 

Technological and Economic Changes


The New Zealand dollar has stayed surprisingly strong in the wake of the GFC which has made it more affordable for New Zealanders to buy products from overseas. (Just think, the GBP was 3 - 1 against the NZD only 6 years ago and now it’s 2-1.) 

Meanwhile, online shopping websites have become easier to navigate and more ubiquitous with the widespread marketing of popular eCommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify. Add to this, the widespread use of smartphones and social media and you have a ready made market of consumers demanding an alternative to putting on their shoes and going to the nearest mall. 

People are online all the time now and levels of accessibility to the Internet (and therefore online shopping) has never been so high.

It is no surprise that online shopping in New Zealand has nearly doubled in the last five years. The future of traditional retailers in New Zealand is uncertain at present. 

Hopefully, they will rise to the challenge and get onboard. 


The POLi team

Credit card surcharges - New Zealand’s sleeping giant



The NZ Herald reported back in 2013 a rising tide of discontent amongst New Zealand consumers objecting to credit card surcharges when paying for goods and services online. 

You can read the full article here.

As well as being thorny, this topic is also contentious. Firstly, New Zealanders have been relatively late in adopting online shopping en masse (and so many haven’t had call to get peeved about the issue), but also because retailers have so far justified their charging the surcharge as simply “passing on the credit card fee” that they are charged by the credit card schemes. 

So, it seems that a sleeping giant has awoken in NZ and retailers large and small are now feeling the pressure to remove the surcharge or work much harder to justify it. 

So what does this mean for online retailers?


Well, in the short term, nothing. But online sales are on the rise in NZ (with 1% growth quarter on quarter) and those retailers looking to grab their slice of the online shopping pie need to take this change in consumer sentiment seriously.

As an online retailer, you essentially have four main options (not including mobile payments which is a story for another post) when it comes to accepting payments online for your goods and services:

Send invoices to customers when an order is made.

Sending out invoices to your customers upon completion of a transaction is still a very common practice. However, in our mobile enabled world, where you can download an app onto your smartphone in seconds, consumers normally want to complete a transaction there and then. 

(This doesn’t apply to accepting online payments in arrears for services rendered however. If you send invoices to clients by email, you could use POLi Link  as a means of receiving direct payment faster.)

Accepting bank transfers as payment by publishing your bank account details

This is still fairly common place in New Zealand (especially for retailers who sell on Trademe). However, it is also time consuming to reconcile the payments, especially when the payer doesn't provide the correct reference information, and there is always the potential to ‘lose’ the sale if the customer has a change of heart after checking out but before making the Internet Banking payment.

Accept credit card payments online

Of course, most e-retailers accept credit cards (although not always American Express) as a payment option on their websites. 

But of course, with credit cards come transaction fees and, as a retailer you have to make the call as to whether you pass on those costs as a surcharge, or somehow build them into the price of your products and services. And this is where the current issue lies.

Accept direct bank transfers with POLi

The fourth option is to accept direct bank transfers. How is this different to option number 2? Well, the key to this payment method is that the entire transaction takes place online at the time of purchase. 

This has a few important benefits:

it is convenient for the customer as they don’t have to wait for an invoice, go to their internet banking, make a transfer, notify the retailer that they have made payment and wait for a response. They just make the payment right there and then;
the possibility of the customer changing their mind is significantly reduced;
the administrative burden for the retailer is far, far lower (in fact, no different to accepting credit card payments).

One million adult Kiwis do not own a credit card


To add to the confusion as to which payment options to offer consumers, there are still over a million Kiwis who do not own a credit card

What this means in practice is that as more and more New Zealanders migrate to online shopping, e-retailers are going to have to offer more payment options than credit cards alone.

And remember, those New Zealanders that do have a credit card don’t like paying a surcharge for using it (and don’t get me started on Visa Debit cards!). So what we have is a melting pot of consumers who want to buy online, with or without a credit card and with no transaction fees. 

Tackle the sleeping giant head on

So, as the credit-card-surcharge debit heats up and the sleeping giant is beginning to stir, it will fall upon NZ e-retailers to make some important decisions about how they run their businesses. If the Commerce Commission scraps the surcharge rule (and they might - who knows?), we will need to think more holistically about the payment options we offer our customers.

Many consumers will want to pay by credit card (or Visa Debit) regardless and it is down to the retailer to review their business models to see if they can absorb the costs from the facility providers. 

For those retailers who simply cannot do this and remain profitable, the obvious solution is to implement a direct bank transfer online payment system into their online store. You might be surprised to find that this is not only extremely cost effective, but also very easy to do (even for the non-techie website owners).

In fact, given there are a million Kiwis who will at some point in the near future start shopping online, I would say that a non-credit-card payment option is a must for all New Zealand eCommerce stores.

The POLi team

What does Apple Pay mean for Kiwi Retailers?



If you have been reading the news lately, you may well have heard of the latest initiative from Apple - Apple Pay. But what is it exactly and what does it mean for Kiwi retailers? 

Well, Apple advertises the service as a means of using “..your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad to pay in a simple, secure, and private way.” 

It is, in fact, an evolution of ‘near field communication’ (NFC) which allows you to use your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to make contactless payments in stores or use when shopping online (for which you can also use iPad Air2 and iPad Mini 3). You simply load your credit card details onto your devices via Passbook and then use your device to complete transactions securely and anonymously.

So what does this mean for Kiwi Shoppers?


So far so good. So, the question is, are New Zealanders going to be making all their payments with their smart phones in the near future? And, as a shop owner, do you need to do anything differently?

Whilst there are no official sales statistics for the iPhone 6 in New Zealand, Apple had publicly stated that they had over 4 million pre-orders of the new handset worldwide - a new record. 

So, on the assumption that a number of New Zealanders got on the waiting list, braved the queues and are now proud owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the question remains, will they use Apple Pay? 

Well, Apple fanatics tend to be just that - fanatical about Apple and all its products. So, on the surface, the answer would be a resounding ‘yes!’. But, the difference with Apple Pay is that is clearly moving into the territory of online payments a place where Kiwis have historically tended to be a little cautious and, you could argue, a touch behind the curve in comparison to the US.

And it goes further than that. Apple Pay is very USA-centric (at the moment, I hasten to add) which poses four major barriers for adoption in NZ.

The first obvious barrier is ownership of a suitable Apple Device. Currently, the only devices that Apple Pay works on are the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and the Apple Watch.

Even if they own a suitable Apple device, approximately half of Kiwi adults do not own a credit card so for these people Apple Pay will offer little in the way of actionable use.

Whilst Apple Pay is compatible with Debit Cards, the Banks that are currently supporting the system are USA only. 

The physical stores that support Apple Pay are also conspicuous by their absence in the NZ market (with some exceptions e.g. McDonalds). So even if you want to use the app in a shop, well, you can’t (yet).

What you can do as an NZ e-Retailer


Whether Apple Pay takes off over here or not, online shopping is certainly on the rise, as is the use of mobile phones for browsing the Net

With more and more Kiwis choosing to shop online, you simply can’t ignore the importance of offering them different payment options at checkout.

For those customers who choose to pay with a credit card, you probably don’t need to do anything more than offer them the ability to do so using a reputable quality credit card payment gateway. But ignore those customers who don’t have a credit card (or don’t want to use one) at your peril! 

By far the best approach is to provide a non-credit card alternative payment solution such as POLipay as it allows customers to complete their transaction using their bank account on their preferred device.

Get POLi fully implemented on your website for just $300!


Short on time? We’ll implement POLi on your website for just $300 – the perfect option if you don’t have time to do it yourself. We’ll need to ask you a couple of questions to make sure you qualify but after that you’re good as gold.

Click here to request a call back and get the ball rolling. 

Start using today POLi FREE for 3 months*


Join hundreds of other New Zealand businesses that have accessed POLi via a shopping cart plugin or one of our eCommerce partner platforms and sign up for POLi before the Christmas rush.

Click here to request a call back and get the ball rolling. 

The POLi team

Great news for TSB customers using POLi

TSB Removes $0.25 fee for online payments

Until recently TSB customers paid a $0.25 fee per transaction when making Internet Banking payments.  This was out of step with the rest of the banking industry which typically includes these transactions for free and just charge a monthly activity fee.  

Well, now TSB has dropped the 25 cent fee. So great news for TSB customers who can now use POLi for free just like everyone else.  

For more details see - http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c68bd894e649b496ae956976c&id=ba450e0289&e=9e4d31ed1d

Do you use Xero Accounting? Get paid faster.

We're very pleased to announce an exciting new service for our merchants that use the Xero Accounting system. Now you can incorporate POLi payments onto your electronically delivered invoices so you can get paid easier and faster.  

So if you send an electronic invoice to a customer via Xero they’ll be given the option to pay it immediately using POLi and Internet Banking.  Most New Zealand business and consumers pay their bills using debit funds, so POLi’s new service in collaboration with XERO has just made it easier. 

International studies have shown that placing easy and convenient payment options on electronic invoices can reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) by up to 15 days.  That equates to a large reduction in working capital, which has got to be good for business.
 
The reason DSO reduces is that by making an easy and convenient payment method available to the bill recipient when they receive it increases the likelihood of early payment. It exploits the mindset that to leave it unpaid now means it will probably be forgotten.  
 
The POLi and XERO integration is extremely easy to set up and we have merchants who are already onboard reaping the benefits of quick and easy invoice payments.

Email info@merco.co.nz or click here to sign up now.


Now even more ways to get paid with POLi Link

Did you know that as a POLi Merchant you have access to POLi Link?  POLi link allows merchants to generate a short URL for a payment they want to receive. It's most often used when the merchant wishes to receive a payment without expecting the payer to navigate through a website experience.

Try POLi Link for yourself now 


The POLi link you send to your customer could simply be an unmasked URL or you could personalise the text.

1. Simple URL: https://poli.to/piug
2. Personalised text: Click here to make payment using POLi and Internet Banking.

You can even link it to an image. Click the image below to try it:



If you want to complete a test transaction using the POLi Links above choose iBank NZ 01 on the POLi Landing Page as your bank and use DemoShopper for both the Username and Password. 

Why use POLi Links?


A POLi Link can be generated one at a time, or multiple in batches, either manually via the POLi Console or via our Web Services API.   

Some examples of POLi Link in use by our merchants today are:

Adhoc payments.  Imagine a customer has paid for an item but then wants to upgrade to a more expensive product. How do you collect the difference? Manual processing might cost you more in time than the difference. Send a POLi Link in an email for the difference. You can submit reference information when you generate the link so the payment will be easily reconcilable when you receive it. 

Call centre payments.  Enable your call centre for debit payments using POLi. Over 50% of adult New Zealanders don't have a credit card so if you're expecting to take payments in the call centre POLi is a good option for you. 

Electronic billing.   International research shows the more payment options you offer on your online bills the more likely you are to be paid. What's more you'll be paid early in many cases.  POLi Link has a number of rich features for billers such as date dependent discounting, variable payment amounts and deferred payments. There are a number of solution providers that allow the use of POLi on their electronic bills - Xero, Officetorque, Dataprint, iStash.

Budget eCommerce.  You can place a POLi Link on a webpage.  Like the examples above they can be in the form of a URL, clickable text or an image. Many online retailers don't need full on shopping cart functionality as they might only be selling a small number of products, or a single product.  POLi Link is great for this scenario as there's no need for a web developer to get involved.   

If you'd like to see a demonstration video showing how to manually generate a POLi Link click here.  

Offering Kiwi Travel Brands a more cost effective payment option






Travel and Transport has always been a strong sector for POLi with Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin being high profile early adopters of POLi payments. The primary reason being POLi payments’ low fees are very attractive indeed when compared to cost of processing credit card payments. 

Airlines pay a higher Merchant Service Fee (MSF) than you might expect, and at their volumes they’re paying a fortune to have credit card transactions processed. So, you can imagine the there's a strong driver for airlines in particular to adopt POLi in order to reduce costs. 

POLi & Interislander – travel companions since 2011

Over the last few years we've added some great travel brands such as Intercity, Nakedbus, Interislander and more recently Harvey World Travel.  Interislander has been offering their customers POLi at the interislander.co.nz checkout since 2011. 
 
Interislander Sales Manager, Simon Payne, says - 
 
"It's great to be able to offer convenient and easy to use payment options. POLi is both of these things and allows our customers the option to use their own money to purchase fares. Many of our customers don't have a credit card, so rather than shut them out of our online channels POLi allows us to service their needs"

Provide a surcharge-free offering for your online customers

Some of our travel merchants have implemented surcharging for credit card payments. We don't necessarily advocate this, but we know it can be a significant driver for the growth of POLi payments for merchants that do.  Ultimately, whether you surcharge or not is a business decision you need to make carefully, but it seems that the buying public expect a surcharge free payment option, and that's where POLi comes in.

Breaking News

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE has just integrated POLi payments into their booking system. Another airline has joined the POLi family.