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Retailers told to upgrade Eftpos terminals, or be cut off

Wednesday 1st June 2011

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The big disconnect rehearsed by Eftpos network operators in March - when they cut off 400 non-compliant terminals - looms with the arrival of tomorrow's June 1 deadline for other retailers.

More than 4000 terminals in shops could be disconnected from the computer network which links their Eftpos terminals to banks, because the Paymark network has said the out-of-date terminals pose risks to the safety and security of transactions.

Some retailers - ranging from small businesses to large corporate merchants - have operated under agreements with their banks, which allowed them extra time to get their equipment upgraded.

But a big provider of merchant services, SmartPay has warned that thousands of retailers are still not prepared for the upgrade.

Paymark has said the June 1 deadline for all the nation's retailers to switch to the more secure version 6.0 Eftpos terminals is to improve security for the 71,000 overseas visitors watching the Rugby World Cup who are expected to spend $1.25 billion.

The newer terminals would reduce the likelihood of electronic card fraud.

Paymark, set up by three banks as Electronic Transaction Services Ltd in 1989, has over 110,000 terminals in shops, and processes over 75% of all electronic transactions in the New Zealand retail market for about 50 different debit cards.

Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said today more than 4000 terminals are not be able to process Eftpos transactions using smart-cards with electronic chips, and 650 connections will be deactivated tomorrow, with more version 5.1 terminals and older terminals being deactivated during the rest of June and July.

“We strongly recommend retailers using these machines make arrangements to upgrade their equipment," he said. "If you continue to use an old terminal you can expect it to stop working very shortly,”he said.

"Most international tourists use chip cards, so we want to make sure your terminal can process their transactions, and that it’s compatible with the latest card technology," Paymark said when it cut off the first group of terminals in March.

Ironically, fans at this year's rugby World Cup will have to use MasterCard prepaid cards or cash when buying food or drink at most of the stadiums used in the tournament.

Eftpos facilities would only be provided at Eden Park in Auckland and Westpac Stadium in Wellington and only MasterCard holders would be able to use them, according to tournament organisers.

Fans at other venues would need to use either cash or prepaid MasterCard "Tap and Go" cards, though ATM machines would be available at all stadiums.



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