Lately I’ve been using my ATM card to make most of my purchases. Little did I know that I was participating in EFTPOS. EFTPOS is an acronym for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale. In other words, with EFTPOS, I buy a blouse, the merchant swipes my ATM or debit card and EFTPOS contacts the server. There is a short wait before a message accepting or declining the card arrives. I can also get cash this way, although some merchants will not do a strictly cash operation. Sometimes this system is called POS Terminal or Payment Terminal.

There is usually a daily limit of around $1000 to $1500 so you can’t buy a car or even the hottest new TV this way, but it does save you from having to carry around lots of cash. Businesses from gas stations to grocery stores, to restaurants accept EFTPOS and with the price of gas this is a good thing.

EFTPOS has even gone mobile so people who sell routinely at flea markets, for example, can buy a mobile unit and increase their sales potential. Taxi cabs and tow trucks are other users of EFTPOS.

For some reason, EFTPOS is most popular in countries like New Zealand and Australia where they are very close to being cash free societies. It may be that these countries have a much higher percentage of people with bank accounts than does the United States.

EFTPOS needs to be used with caution. It sort of acts like free money but you need to keep track of your account just as you would when writing a check. You don’t want to run out of money in the middle of the month.

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