As a website design business we are in a lucky position where we sometimes start to see big industry shifts early in the piece. One area that is currently seeing rapid change and advance is how we as businesses receive our money. Traditionally, any e-commerce store has needed some sort of third party payment gateway to accept payments. The likes of Payment Express and the big banks have dominated that space for many years, but recently the likes of PayPal, Square and Stripe have all started to take more of an interest in New Zealand and the options for kiwis are set to grow rapidly. More options means more competition, and that has to be a good thing, particularly as the new players to the market bring different pricing methods with them.
Most recently, we have seen that some of these online payment gateways are looking to expand their services to also offer ‘Point of Sale’ services (the POS in Eftpos - the ability for stores to take payments in person). The big mover in this space originally was Square. The basic premise of Square was to change the payment industry – bringing credit card processing to physical stores at a lower price point than the current terminal setups, letting you integrate payment methods with something as simple as your iPad. They extend that service to online payment gateways and their software basically becomes an all in one sales package for stores – with features that include inventory management. The big downside for us kiwis at the moment is that while we can use some of Square’s features (by coupling it up with Xero), they aren’t offering credit card processing in our little corner of the world just yet. That said, Australia is offered that service, so in our opinion, it won’t be long until Square does make it to our shores – and a bigger shake up to the industry takes place.
Running alongside Square in the online payment gateway space is Stripe (a company we have profiled before when we compared Stripe and PayPal). Stripe entered the fold as an alternative to online payment gateway providers – sitting somewhere in between Payment Express and PayPal in how it worked. They aimed to have the simplicity of PayPal in setup, but operate more like the conventional payment gateways in that they focus on online store payments (as opposed to peer to peer payments). As of yesterday, Stripe has announced that they are now moving into the Point of Sale space as well. Like everything they have done, Stripe’s offering is more targeted at developers, so you should expect to see it rolled out and packaged up with ‘3rd parties’, but either way it is very exciting news for businesses and consumers. Stripe is already in New Zealand with it’s online credit card processing, and while the POS system is only being launched in America at this stage, this is another big ‘watch this space moment’.
The final area to keep an eye on in NZ will definitely be the ‘after pay’ space. Australia in particular has seen that style of payment gateway explode, and from where we are sitting, each part of the world is starting to jump on that bandwagon to a lesser or greater extent. As it becomes adopted globally, expect to see these types of systems being offered more readily in platforms such as Weebly, Wix and SquareSpace – the consumer focused website and e-commerce options.
However the next few months pan out, it’s certainly going to be an interesting time for New Zealand business owners as more payment gateway and POS options land on our shores. We will certainly be keeping an eye on Square, Stripe and PayPal in particular – as we are increasingly eager to see easy to access, lower cost and integrated payment solutions made available.