Merchant Centre

By Popular Demand POLi is Now Available on Shopify

Over the last year loads of merchants have asked us when we are going to support Shopify with our payment option that lets customers use their own Internet Banking. 

Well, we're delighted to announce our new partnership with Shopify formally starting in July 2015. So, if you’re a Shopify website owner (or are thinking about becoming one) make sure you select POLi as a payment option on your storefront. 

Want to know more? Read the post below to find out how to set up POLi in your Shopify store and how much it costs.

Already convinced? Click here to sign up now

 Click to Tweet: Shopify retailers can now use POLi in their stores. Credit cards no longer a must have!

Benefits of using POLi with Shopify

1 Get more transactions from customers who prefer to use their own money or don’t have a credit card

2 Pay less per transaction versus other payment options

3 Remove the pain of matching direct bank transfers with online banking payments

4 POLi is very easy to set up and install in your Shopify store – it’s a 2 minute job

Get more transactions through your Shopify store with POLi

POLi is a secure, effective, and user-friendly way for your customers to pay for purchases online without using a credit card. Many major companies, small businesses and untold consumers trust it every day to complete thousands of transactions.

Despite there being massive growth in online shopping in New Zealand, up to a third of adult New Zealanders don’t own (or want to use) a credit card. Even being conservative, this amounts to a decent slice of the 4.6 million residents in the country3So, by offering POLi, Shopify merchants can tap into a potential gold mine of additional sales.


Get more sales but pay less

Shopify offers credit card payment solutions via an impressive array of payment gateways. However, payment gateways come with significant fees and a heap of hoops to jump through.

POLi is different. As you’re not dealing with credit card schemes, there are no surcharges and you only pay for completed transactions. Also, POLi doesn’t charge retailers set-up or service fees.

POLi transaction fees are only 1% of each transaction value plus GST. This is an extremely competitive rate and it’s capped at $3.00 per transaction! 

How does POLi’s costs compare?




Set up

Transaction Fee or MSF

Payment Gateway (per tx)

Monthly Service Fees


(full solution*)


3.4% + $0.45 (USD ?)



Credit Cards


4% - 6%

$0.15 - $0.25

$25 - $60



1% (capped at $3)





1.2% (capped at $3)


$25 - $60 **











See more at about how much you should expect to pay with an online payment system.

Offer direct bank transfers online in 4 simple steps


Do you offer credit terms or direct bank transfer payment options in your Shopify store? If you do, you’ll be used to manually reconciling all those direct bank transfers – and what a pain it is! 

1 Simply set up your POLi account

2  Install POLi in your Shopify store

3 Whenever a customer chooses to pay with POLi they will be taken directly to their Online Banking to complete the transaction.

4 You receive the money and ship the goods.

How Can I Offer POLi Payments in my Shopify Store?

As a business owner, we know that your time is precious so signing up with POLi is quick and easy. We have streamlined the process into a few simple steps:

1 Apply for a POLi Merchant Account. It is far easier than the approval process with credit card companies. Click here to apply.

2 Once we have provisioned your account, we'll send you some simple instructions. Set up only takes a few minutes.

3 Log into your Shopify store and install POLi.

You don't need to be tech-savvy to start using POLi

Getting set up with POLi and installing it on your Shopify site is easy! We’ve made our processes as straightforward as possible. And, our friendly technical team is on hand to get you up and running in no time.

When you combine this with Shopify’s ethos of simplicity, POLi and Shopify really are a winning combination.

Our Shopify store owners are loving POLi

“I feel confident that the option to have POLi on our website makes us different from our competitors. I think our customers really respect that we have this option as well as they now have a quicker and easier way to pay.”

Laura, Owner & Founder, magichollow

A great example of POLi and Shopify in action is the retailer magichollow, an online vintage clothing store- specialising in on- trend, unique products.

Their target demographic is teenagers in the 14 – 18 year age bracket many of whom do not have a credit or debit card. This meant they had to manually reconcile most of their online sales payments which was time consuming yet vital to their business model.

So using POLi as a payment option in their store was an absolute no-brainer that has saved them time, money and offers their customers a better checkout experience.

Read the full case study here.

Are you new to Shopify?

If you’re new to Shopify and what it has to offer, here’s a quick rundown of some of the best bits.

Shopify tools

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

  • Track orders and manage inventory with ease from day one.
  • Easily optimise the shopping experience on any number of mobile devices.
  • Present your products in the best light with pictures, zoom function, and a photo gallery. It also adjusts its views depending on what device the customer is using to view your page.
  • Retrieve lost sales with easy to use cart abandonment. This will later notify shoppers via email that their selections are still available for purchase and waiting for them.
  • Straightforward management tools for calculating taxes and shipping rates.

How Do I Set Up My Shopify Storefront?

There are many free default ‘themes’ that can help you create a super functional and aesthetically pleasing storefront when you sign up.

These can be easily customised by adding your logo, colours, fonts, etc. Shopify Experts can help you take it to the next level by creating something unique for you and your products or services. This does cost more but can be a better deal than hiring an outside consultant to set up something similar for you.

Click here for more information about their storefront options.

So, do you want to get started?

Hopefully the benefits of using POLi in your Shopify store are clear. By offering your customers a non-credit card payment option, you could get more transactions at a lower cost and remove a ton of unwanted admin to boot!

1 Sign up for POLi now by clicking this link

2 Get in touch if you need help with anything

If you already have POLi and want to set it up on your Shopify store, read these instructions.

Until next time,

Jeff Skidmore

Director, POLi


Showcase: magichollow blazing the way on Shopify

We love to showcase fantastic New Zealand websites. With the launch of the new POLi payment option for Shopify, there's no better place to start than with magichollow

magichollow was one of our first merchants to trial POLi in their Shopify store. Their target demographic are teenagers in the 14 – 18 year age bracket many of whom do not have a credit or debit card. This meant they had to manually reconcile most of their online sales payments, which was time consuming yet vital to their business model.

So, using POLi as a payment option in their store was an absolute no-brainer that has saved them time, money and offers their customers a better checkout experience.

Want to go shopping now? Click here.

Read magichollow's story told by its founder, Laura.

Online vintage magic was born in 2012

I started selling vintage clothing when I was 14 on trademe as a way of earning pocket money. After working in minimum wage office jobs and studying a communications degree that I was not interested in, I realised that there wasn’t much point continuing to be uninspired by what I did. So in January 2012 I started magichollow, an online vintage clothing store specialising in on-trend, unique products. 

"I'm Laura. I hand curate every single item you see on magichollow. I will literally search anywhere for the coolest, most unique vintage and it all ends up here. I have the best job ever."

Laura, Owner & Founder, magichollow

Meteoric rise on Facebook

I started magichollow on Facebook and we grew through word of mouth and advertising for 2 years. We garnered over 14,000 likes on Facebook and built up a wickedly loyal base. Our customers were predominately in the 14-18 age bracket looking for the kind of fashion that wasn't readily available in NZ. 

The move to Shopify

When we first started out on Facebook, customers would comment “sold” on the photo of an item they wanted to buy. They would leave their email address which I would respond to with t&c’s and also my bank account details. However, there was a major problem with this payment system. Customers would often comment "sold" on something but then not get back to us. This left the product unavailable for a period of time when other potential customers could buy it. And even when customers did follow through on the purchase, I still had to go backwards and forwards into my Internet Banking to check when the payment had been made.

This was creating a loss in revenue, confusion for our customers and drowning me in paperwork! Something had to be done.

So, I decided to research ecommerce website solutions. And, because many of our customers did not own a credit card, I knew that having a bank deposit feature was hugely important for the transition of our customers from Facebook. 

How POLi helped

One weekend, when paying for the Northern Gateway toll, I saw the option to pay via Internet Banking using POLi. This excited me as I knew this was the payment solution I was looking for. I sent POLi an email the next day and immediately had a response explaining how the system worked and that a plugin-in for Shopify was in the making. 

The timing worked out perfectly as the beta testing for POLi became available just as we were planning to launch the website. Creating a seamless transition of payment methods for our current customers was hugely important and POLi made that happen. 

POLi is great because it means no one misses out. It's extremely easy to use and our customers have had no problem figuring out how complete the transaction on their own. 

I feel confident that the option to have POLi on our website makes us different from our competitors. I think our customers really respect that we do have that option as well seeing as it was the only way to pay when we were just selling on Facebook. 

Right now 20% of our sales are through PoliPay, with more expected as we continue to promote and push customers to use that option. 

Ready to go shopping?

If you're looking for something new for your wardrobe, visit magichollow today.

Web:             Facebook

Interested in using POLi on your Shopify Store?

Just like magichollow, by offering your customers an Internet Banking payment option, you could get more transactions at a lower cost and remove a ton of unwanted admin to boot!

1 Sign up for POLi now by clicking this link

2 Get in touch if you need help with anything

If you already have POLi and want to set it up on your Shopify store, read these instructions.

Until next time!

Jeff SkidmoreDirector, POLi

Build a website and start selling online in hours!

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive emails from prospective customers asking me how they can get an online shop up and running on a shoestring. Does that sound like you? Then read on.

Start Selling Online with POLi & Website Builder for only $25.00 per month: Click to Tweet

Years ago, unless you were ready to pay thousands of dollars to a developer, a customized e-commerce website was out of reach for most small businesses and start-ups. How things have changed! Fast forward to today and there are many savvy do-it-yourself template website services available. While they can all provide you with a presence on the web, some are better than others.

What to look for in an affordable e-Commerce solution

If you want to own an online shop but have minimal money to invest and no website development/design experience, you need two things from your website:

1. It has to be simple to create. In fact, you need to be able to set up a professional looking website on your own with no development chops.

2. It has to be able to easily accept multiple online payments methods with no customisation.

Point two is particularly important as not all template-style websites allow you to easily accept payments.

Here’s an example.

A friend of mine was recently talking about her efforts to create a small online business selling her custom sleepwear. She had thought that she was through the “hard part” by designing the clothes, manufacturing inventory, creating a brand and planning for distribution.

It turned out the thing that had her pulling out her hair was finding an out-of-the-box website that enabled her to get up and running selling her products quickly with minimal customisation and development.

As a small start-up, she didn’t want to pay mega bucks to have the site built for her. So, she ended up muddling through on her own using a well known template-based site.

As an entrepreneur, new to the online world, she had no idea how fiddly it could be to set up credit card payments on a website. And how much it would slow her progress. While she’s now on the road to success with her business, I wish she would have known there‘s an easier way.


Here at POLi we not only work with major corporations - we also champion the small business owner. We love watching them thrive and succeed. We provide the tools and resources that will eliminate “virtual” hurdles and get your business up and running online.

We are proud to partner with Kiwi business, Website Builder, which currently helps thousands of businesses shine online. Using POLi, a business owner can sign up with Website Builder, complete a domain registration and get their website online almost instantly, without a credit card.

As experts in the field, we asked them what you need to know to get started with your online store and how they can help.

1. Create Your Site

You can DIY! With Website Builder, you can create your own online store in hours (minutes actually). It's easy, it's fast – and it’s cost effective. And, because Website Builder uses POLi, you can sign up almost instantly, without a credit card!

2. Show Me the Money

Using POLi in your website builder store, your customers can buy your products online and then quickly and easily deposit money straight into your bank account. (This is particularly important if your business needs access to the funds in ‘real-time’.)

It’s also a great alternative to simply receiving credit card payments, which can be expensive and time-consuming to set up.

3. Improve Your Rankings

When Google is calling you want to answer first. Your Website Builder site comes stacked with uncomplicated built in tools to help you optimise your website. So, when people search for a product or service similar to what you offer, you’ll be closer to the top.

4. Domain Name and Hosting Services

They take care of your web hosting and domain names for you. You can register domain names for only $19/year via the control panel for .nz. They can help with international domain names too. All web hosting plans include free web statistics and free email accounts. Web hosting plans start at only $15 per month.

5. Market, market, market! 

Communication with customers is key. Newsletters and bulk email services will keep you in touch to do things like announce sales, offer incentives and promote contests. Website Builder can make it all happen.

6. Web-based inventory management:

Their web-based point of sale (POS) system is perfect for managing your showroom or call center via and Ipad or Desktop. You can have unlimited instances of the POS system across devices, and staff activity is tracked. All POS instances have access to the same order history. Backorders and disappointed customers will be a thing of the past!

So what are you waiting for?

Every week we get enquiries about how to start an online business. We can help them with the payment piece, but first they need a web presence. If they fit the criteria we send them off to Website Builder. Their templates are professional, easy-to-set-up and cost-effective. Best of all, you don’t have to be a super technical person to make it work- you can do it!

As with POLi, Website Builder is here to help. Give them a call today to chat about the right package and pricing that works for you and your business.

Get in touch –

Over to you

What did you think of this post? What are your experiences of building your own websites? Leave your comments below.

Jeff Skidmore

Director, POLi

POLi’s growth in the travel market gains serious momentum

Etihad Airways and POLi

Click to tweet: POLi announces partnership with Etihad Airways & Cathay Pacific.

Today’s travelers are demanding more options than ever to coordinate their holidays and business trips. In accordance with this trend, our exciting growth in the online travel industry continues to gain momentum.

Most recently, we announced partnerships with high-profile merchants using the POLi platform, Etihad Airways (the national airline of the United Arab Emirates) and Cathay Pacific. All three now offer POLi as an alternative payment solution for international travel. This is in addition to our already impressive list of clients that includes airline giants Air New Zealand, Virgin, Jet Star and Air Asia.

Why do airlines use POLi?

Airlines love using POLi because it provides their customers with the option of a direct bank transfer when making reservations online. We know that over 40% of our customer base own a credit card, but there remains a strong preference for the convenience of a direct bank transfer. For a variety of reasons many favour this method over a credit card transaction.

Additionally, POLi provides a secure and reliable purchase option for those who don’t hold a credit card. This way, all customers are able to take advantage of pricing differentials for online purchases.

Offering reliable online payments nationwide

Now you can travel all of New Zealand using POLi’s convenient and safe payment system. You can even use POLi for travel on InterCity, Naked Bus and the Interislander.

InterCity is a perfect example of how POLi is proving itself almost instantly. When they launched the new system in September 2010 customers began using the bank transfer option within the first few minutes of it going live. InterCity has continued to experience growth with POLi with bank transfer transactions up 30% year on year.

We’re growing in lots of other sectors too

Growth for POLi is not isolated to the travel industry. We have experienced a notable lift of 52% in overall customer transactions FY13 to FY14. Additionally, POLi had significant growth in their number of merchants by 83% during the same period.

We’ve been fortunate to have loyal early adopters to POLi that have stayed with us. Now we’re beginning to see the rewards of our earlier years paying off. Every day more merchants and consumers are choosing the convenience of direct real-time bank transfers when shopping online.

POLi’s solutions are one of the best in the market. It is not only easy to use, but it also broadens the appeal of online shopping to a wider demographic than just those that have a credit card.

For Media Enquiries Contact:

Jeff Skidmore,

POLi, Payments

+ 64 21 485318

Visit: for more information

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OfficeTorque iBill users can now schedule future payments with the help of POLi

iBill, OfficeTorque’s extremely successful electronic billing service, is now even better. Now, instead of having to pay invoices straight away, payees can opt to schedule the payment for a future date at the click of a button. We could all do with one less thing to remember to do later, right?

The service will even automatically preload relevant details such as the amount to be debited, future withdrawal dates, and a personalised user authorisation.

Tweet: Click to Tweet - “Schedule future online payments with a click using ‘One-Touch iBill’” @POLi

Where POLi comes in

When OfficeTorque approached us to provide them with a scheduled payment option we were delighted to assist with the project. Until recently, ePayments have been limited to the “pay now” option using our effective and popular ‘POLi Link’ service.

This enhancement to iBill takes online bill paying to a whole level. The benefits are two fold: customers receive a smoother bill paying experience (no more paper trails or diary reminders to pay invoices) and merchants get much better visibility of future Cashflow.

It really does offer a much simpler and faster payment experience for our merchants and their customers.

Date selection screen - OfficeTorque iBill 

Who is OfficeTorque?

OfficeTorque has an extensive background in helping New Zealand and Australian companies significantly increase their options for online eBilling.  In turn, this has provided a feature-rich experience for their customers and makes day-to-day operations stress free for businesses.

What OfficeTorque CEO, Lance Wickman says:

“The One Touch billing system allows payees to immediately process their iBill when it arrives.  This means they can raise a query if they are not satisfied or arrange a future payment via Internet banking. It also removes the need for a printed paper trail and the need to manually bill a customer later in the month.  We are streamlining the process."

Up to 90% reduction in printing and distribution costs

OfficeTorque is already reporting 60% - 95% adoption of their iBill solution (well above the standard adoption rate of 15% -20% for a static PDF document.). With POLi on board with scheduled future payments, they expect even higher levels of adoption.

There’s no doubt that companies and business owners will love that this translates into a 60% - 95% reduction in printing and distribution costs.  Those are some seriously exciting statistics!

Who will be using the service?

Crockers Property Group will be the first OfficeTorque client to go live with this service in New Zealand (the launch is imminent). Crockers Property Group is New Zealand’s only true one-stop property company providing a full range of property services to their clients; property management, property sales, body corporate management and valuations.  Crockers’ client base of over 23,000 clients often require individualised payment flexibility and this is where OfficeTorque offered the ease, convenience and security for what they were looking for.  

“We are very excited to offer our clients this innovative and safe way to arrange payments”, says Crockers’ COO, Dean Cates.

If it works for them, it could work for you.

Interested in One-Touch iBill for your business?

If you think that OfficeTorque iBill may be right for your online business call OfficeTorque +64 9 280 3260 or email them at

What do you think? Would it be convenient for your business to be able to schedule online payments at the click of a button? Leave your comments below.

Until next time,

Jeff Skidmore, Director, POLipay

Top 8 Methods for Accepting Online Payments in New Zealand


There are numerous reasons why eCommerce continues to grow in popularity. New Zealand was, for a while, lagging behind the rest of the western world, but this is no longer the case.

In December 2014, there was a 12 per cent rise from the previous year in online spending in New Zealand. The most desirable online categories for online shoppers were, respectively, food and entertainment, books and newspapers, and computers & peripherals categories.

Entrepreneurs are taking notice of the Kiwis’ positive outlook on online shopping, and are rushing to meet this demand. One of the most important decisions you as an online retailer need to make is deciding on what payment options to offer your customers.

Tweet: Tweet: “New Zealand’s Top online payment systems” @POLi – Click to Tweet


This post will walk you through the three main areas to consider when choosing an online payment method for your business as well as the top 8 services in New Zealand.

Don’t leave this decision until the last minute

The biggest mistake many new business owners make is to put off making a decision about which online payment solution to use until the last minute. You need to think about this topic before your website is anywhere close to being launched as it can take a long time to get the facilities you need in place. 

Also, when it comes to accepting credit cards your bank may not be willing to give you a facility for online payments at all.

Two big things you need to consider

1. How will your customers want to pay for your products or services?

It’s important to think about the kind of people you wish to target. Consumers have different levels of comfort with shopping online particularly when it comes to paying for things.

Some people are accustomed to shopping online; they’re used to using a credit card to buy things. Others are happier to pay via bank transfer (a behaviour heavily influenced by being brought up on Trade Me).

Then of course there is the issue of accessibility to different payment methods (50% of New Zealanders don’t even own a credit card). So, to avoid missing out on a lot of potential custom, it’s very important to ensure you offer a range of payment methods that cover both credit and debit options.

People want to choose how they pay. The retailers who offer them this choice stand to win.

2. What overall options do you have?

Broadly speaking, your options include accepting credit card payments via a payment gateway, credit card payments via Paypal and payments direct from your customers’ bank accounts. It can feel like the options are endless - scheme credit and debit, direct bank transfer, gift cards, prepaid cards, offline Internet Banking, qcard, loyalty cards, Prezzy cards - but they can be categorised broadly as follows:

1.Credit Card

You will need a Merchant Account from a bank for online (card not present) transactions, and note that your bank may not be willing to give you this.  You’ll also need a relationship with a payment gateway provider  (see below) and your website will need to integrate with that provider.  
You can offer your customers a credit card option via Paypal but it’s expensive and your customers will need to be diverted to the Paypal environment.  Paypal tends to go hand in hand with eBay and therefore it’s not as popular in New Zealand as other parts of the world.

2. Bank transfer.

You could allow your customers to pay you via their Internet Banking by providing them with your bank details. The downside is, this approach is not very elegant, cart conversion will be terrible and the payment reference errors will drive you crazy.  
The two best options for New Zealand retailers are POLi and Account 2 Account. These systems both utlise the customer’s Internet Banking to enable them to make instant payments online.

3. Everything else. 

Outside of Bank transfers and credit cards, you could consider all the other card schemes – loyalty, prezzy, qcard etc. To be honest though, most NZ Retailers would consider these payment options to be pretty low down the list of priorities.

1. Credit Card & Payment Gateways

Credit Card Schemes –  there are a range of credit card schemes operating in New Zealand. The most commonly known are Visa, Mastercard, Diners and American Express.  
There are two fees that you should be aware of when considering offering credit card. Your bank will charge you a Merchant Service Fee (or MSF), typically a percentage of the transaction value – anywhere from 1 – 6%, (but likely to be around 4% for a startup business in a low risk business category), and your gateway will charge you a per transaction fee as well.

Payment Gateways – these connect all participants in a transaction together, i.e the merchant (you), the issuing bank (the bank that issued the card to your customer), the acquiring bank (your bank that issued you with a Merchant Account) and the credit card schemes.  

The common Payment Gateways in New Zealand are DPS Payment Express, Paystation, Flo2cash and IP Payments.  There are also new entrants such as Swipe that provide a complete service so you don’t need a separate relationship with a bank – i.e you get one fee per transaction that incorporates the MSF and gateway fee.  Confusing, I know!
The main New Zealand banks often have a branded Gateway offering e.g. BNZ Buyline or ANZ eGate.  Often the banks’ offering is simply while labelled from one of the Payment Gateway providers, meaning the bank uses their system but put their branding on it.


Flo2Cash provides credit card services to enable merchants in receiving their payments as easily as possible, whether it be over a landline phone, internet or your mobile phone. All transactions are processed in real time.  Like Swipe they’re able to offer a bundled service negating the need for a facility from a bank.


Specialised  payment technologies development for eCommerce entrepreneurships as a Paymark Certified Solutions Provider, PayStation is there to help you find the right payment solution for you and your customers. They support internet credit card payment through the following banks: ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand and Westpac. Paystation was recently purchased by Trade Me.

DPS – Payment Express

DPS is a well known credit card/payment gateway provider in New Zealand. It offers a range of services including merchant hosted and non-hosted options as well as a simple manual credit card processing facility.

IP Payments

IP Payments offers a versatile service, and empowers you to handle any kind of payment. You can handle real-time transactions, batch payments, even recurring transactions. It is always good to give your customers the option to use their phone to complete payments and order products or services. Every third New Zealander owns a smartphone, and it would be purely illogical to ignore this market which is only going to get bigger.

SecurePayTech provides secure and affordable credit card authorization and processing services for on-line businesses. Comprehensive reporting of individual transactions combined with historical trend analysis keeps you firmly in control of your business.


The alternative way to offer your customers credit card payment options is via Paypal.

Many small startups go down this path first - particularly if they can’t get a Merchant Account from a bank or want a low cost entry into the market.  Although, it is pretty easy to get started on Paypal, the transaction fees are high which can eat into your profit margins pretty quickly

2. Direct Bank Transfer


POLiPay has been allowing customers with New Zealand bank accounts to make purchases and pay without using a credit card since 2007. It offers a seamless experience delivered via the customer’s Online Banking. Simply log-in to your bank account and confirm the payment. POLiPay is extremely secure and simple to use, and above else, allows people to shop through a familiar platform - their Online Banking account. This is an attractive selling point for online shoppers and could well increase your online sales with fewer transactions dropped during checkout.

Ease of use and familiarity are great allies of eCommerce since there is still a bit of caution coming from New Zealanders when it comes to online shopping. Letting them operate from a familiar territory helps bridge this trust gap significantly.

DPS Payment Express Account to Account

Payment Express Account2Account offers a similar service to POLipay but has only been in the market since 2014 and therefore this service and brand hasn’t been exposed to as many consumers as POLi. Payment Express charge’s monthly fees so take this into consideration if you’re not going to use them as your credit card payment gateway.

Choose an online payment solution wisely

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect online payment method for your online business. Depending on which segment of the market you want to target, your long-term business plans, the state of your finances as well as your functionality preferences, what is ‘ideal’ may vary.

All of the above mentioned solutions are reliable and tested, but it is up to you to make the final call when it comes to picking the one that works for you. Finding that ideal fit when it comes to payment methods is something you can’t get any other way.

We hope this list helped you make the right decision.

What are your thoughts on the best online payment methods in New Zealand? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time!

Jeff Skidmore
Director, POLi

How much do online payment systems cost?


Note – obviously, we have a vested interest in POLi (it’s our service) but we have tried to make this post impartial
 Tweet: “Using the right online payment system could save you money” @POLi – Click to Tweet

For a small country, New Zealand still represents a huge potential market in the world of e-commerce. Between 2001 and 2010 the uptake of online shopping by New Zealanders grew from 21% to 57% of the population. By 2011 63% of the population had purchased something online, amounting to approximately NZD $2.68 billion in sales.

As merchants of all shapes and sizes continue to embrace the online market place, utilising ecommerce store development solutions such as Shopify, Magento, Opencart and more it’s essential that Merchants offer their customers a range of convenient and secure  online payment options.

However, payment systems do have a cost associated so it is very important that merchants evaluate their options carefully.

This post will compare the fees for Paypal, POLi and Account2Account.

What are the options?

Broadly speaking, your options include accepting:

1. credit card payments via a bank;
2. credit card payments via a payment gateway;
3. credit card payments via Paypal;
4. debit payments direct from your customers’ bank accounts.

Note that when we say credit card we include scheme debit (i.e Visa Debit). For a full breakdown of the online payment options available in New Zealand, read this blog post.

Currently there are over 1million people in New Zealand who do not have a credit card, which immediately excludes them from using any payment system that requires one. Also, either through preference or circumstance many people with a credit card will use a debit option if given the choice.

However, there are also as many people who do have a credit card and, with the success of the many rewards programs out there, want to use it.

The upshot is, that if merchants want to entice customers to part with their dollars, they must provide a range of payment options. And understanding the costs associated with each option is critical.

Comparing the options

Debit Options

Poli payments

POLi allows you as a merchant to offer your customers an alternative payment option to credit cards. With POLi, your customer can pay online directly from their bank account via Internet Banking using a secure process.

POLi also has lowest fees of all the options presented in this article.

Account 2 Account

Payment Express Account2Account offers a similar service to POLipay but has only been in the market since 2014 and therefore this service and brand hasn’t been exposed to as many consumers as POLi.
Payment Express charge’s monthly fees so take this into consideration if you’re not going to use them as your credit card payment gateway.

Credit Options


PayPal is extremely well known, but the uptake in New Zealand has been lower than in other countries (perhaps due to its tie with eBay which is not available on these shores).

The system allows customers to pay securely for items using a credit card without having to provide any bank or card details to the merchant. The merchant can choose to have a fully integrated system (transaction takes place within their ecommerce site) or divert the customer to PayPal’s site to complete the sale.

PayPal is often seen as being an easy entry to market for small businesses and startups but transaction fees are particularly high.

Credit Card Schemes –  there is a range of credit card schemes operating in New Zealand. The schemes most commonly known are Visa, Mastercard, Diners and American Express. Part of the contract which allows you to receive payment via a credit card scheme, is a Merchant Service Fee (or MSF) typically a percentage of the transaction value – anywhere from 1 – 6%, (but likely to be around 4% for a startup business in a low risk business category).

Credit Card via a bank

Traditionally, to offer credit card payments you need a facility called a Merchant Account with your bank and a relationship with a payment gateway (see below). The bank will charge you a Merchant Service Fee and the gateway will typically charge you a flat fee per transaction.

Some banks can offer you a bundled service that includes the payment gateway service.

Credit Card via Payment Gateway

Payment Gateways – these connect all participants in a transaction together, i.e the merchant (you) the issuing bank (the bank that issued the card to your customer) the acquiring bank (your bank that issued you with a Merchant Account) and the credit card schemes.
The common Payment Gateways in New Zealand are DPS Payment Express, Paystation, Flo2cash and IP Payments.

(The main New Zealand banks often have a branded Gateway offering e.g. BNZ Buyline or ANZ eGate.  Often the banks’ offering is simply while labelled from one of the Payment Gateway providers, meaning the bank uses their system but put their branding on it.)

For a list of the main payment gateways in New Zealand, check out our forthcoming post.

Two gateway companies in New Zealand offer a bundled service that means you don’t need a Merchant Account with a bank in order to process credit card transactions. They are Flo2cash and SwipeHQ. The fees are quite high, but it can be a good option if you can’t get a merchant facility from your bank. 

What is the difference in fees?





Set up

Transaction Fee or MSF

Payment Gateway (per tx)

Monthly Service Fees


(full solution*)


3.4% + $0.45 (USD ?)



Credit Cards


4% - 6%

$0.15 - $0.25

$25 - $60



1% (capped at $3)





1.2% (capped at $3)


$25 - $60 **











* This illustration is for PayPal’s fully hosted solution.
** Not charged separately if also processing credit card transactions
*** Visa and MasterCard

Note - Figures shown do not include any applicable GST.

Case study illustration

Case Study: start up store, $10k sales per year, 10 transactions per month, av. sale price of $80.

John has recently set up a small start up NZ niche online store and he is now looking for an online payment system. To date, he has been selling his products via Trade Me and he knows many of his customers do not have a credit card.

Therefore, he wants the flexibility to offer his customers both credit card and direct bank transfer payment methods.

Let’s assume half of his sales transactions are completed with a credit card and half via direct transfer of funds.

Using the PayPal service, he will spend $202 on transaction fees, but this includes the fees he would otherwise have had to pay for the Credit Card Scheme Merchant Service Fees (MSF) and payment gateway fees.

If he also uses POLi he will pay an additional $50 in transaction fees but there is no set up fee. So, a total of $252 in the first year.

If he opts instead to use Account2Account, he will pay an additional $150 for set up and $60 in transaction fees. So, a total of $412 for the year.

Do the maths before your commit to an online payment solution

Merchants will have different online payment needs at different stages of their store’s life. Before you jump into bed with a particular solution provider, think about your business growth plans. In the example above, although a little simplistic, shows that the POLi + PayPal option would cost John 2.52% of total revenue in the first year. This is compared to 4.12% using A2A + PayPal.

A 1.6% difference might not sound like a lot but if John were to triple his revenue by year three, he would be paying nearly $500 a year more.

It’s worth thinking about.

What do you think? We would love to hear from you with any questions or comments about your own experiences with online payment systems.

Until next time.

Jeff Skidmore

Director, POLi

What happens if a customer cancels a payment via ANZ?

What happens if a customer cancels a payment via ANZ?

Most NZ banks do not allow customers to cancel payments processed via Internet Banking. This means that there is usually little likelihood of a payment being reversed after the POLi system has confirmed that a payment has successfully completed. ANZ is the exception to this rule, and although you are still highly likely to receive payment you need to be aware of the risks of accepting ANZ payments

Read on to find out how this affects POLi merchants.

How are payment cancellations usually managed by the bank?

Banks in New Zealand don’t accept instructions to transfer funds unless there is every likelihood the payment will be made. So, when a payer confirms an Internet Banking payment they are making a final instruction to their bank to transfer funds to the payee. Therefore, as a POLi merchant, you should have every expectation that you will receive payment (subject to the normal bank terms and conditions, prioritisation and settlement processes).

The process is different for ANZ payments

UPDATE: 15 September 2016

ANZ no longer allows customers to cancel payments on the day of payment.

ANZ allows its customers to cancel Internet Banking payments on the day the payment instruction is received up to the time of the banks’ end of day. This is typically in the late evening. This Internet Banking functionality affects a small minority of POLi merchants as they can receive advice from the POLi system that a payment has been processed via ANZ but the POLi system is unable to advise you (the merchant) that a payment has been cancelled.

Find out more about ANZ’s Internet Banking service here.

So what does this mean for POLi merchants?

In practice the risk of payment cancellation appears to be very low. The risk does exist however so you should assess it according to your particular situation.

Current POLi merchants who are providing post paid goods or services (or pre paid services that can be revoked by the merchant) are typically unaffected by the issue as it’s handled by their current debtors processes.

If you are a merchant who is providing prepaid goods or service, you should consider the following options:

  1. Accept that the risk of payment cancellation is low and allow payments from ANZ customers. Reconcile regularly to track potential issues with payment cancellation.
  2. Allow payments from ANZ customers but implement business processes to ensure the funds are received prior to provisioning the goods or services.
  3. Do not accept payments from ANZ customers if there is insufficient time for the funds to clear.
  4. Do not accept payments from ANZ customers at any time.
For most POLi Merchant customers, payment cancelations are not a real issue. If you do come up against any difficulties though, remember to get in touch.

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 as well as being available in New Zealand via

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