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Retailers seek assurances regarding Eftpos

Newmarket Business Association

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Retailers seek assurances that Eftpos won’t crash this weekend

The country’s leading shopping district has written to the largest Eftpos provider seeking assurances that the electronic network won’t crash this weekend due to excessive Christmas demand.

In a letter dated 12 December sent to Simon Tong CEO of Paymark Eftpos, Cameron Brewer, head of the Newmarket Business Association wrote:

“We are very concerned that last year’s Eftpos crash across the country will be repeated in the last weekend before Christmas. I am writing to you seeking assurances that everything has been done to avoid this costly situation happening again.

“As you’ll recall New Zealand shoppers were left in chaos last Christmas when Paymark’s network crashed for two hours on December 23, blocking half a million transactions. Paymark, I understand accounts for about 80 percent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

“As New Zealand’s leading retailing district, we are anticipating that the 72-hours leading up Christmas this year will be busier than last year. We believe consumer confidence is up on last year, and with Christmas falling on Monday retailers are braced for very intense trading on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I think this year we could actually witness a billion dollars being spent across the country in the final week before Christmas.” Last year consumers spent $872m in that final week.

“With that very busy weekend predicted, and the acceptance that Eftpos is the lifeblood of modern retailing, I seek assurances from Paymark that there has been significant work and investment in its network capacity over the past 12 months to ensure there won’t be another collapse at such a crucial trading time,” wrote Mr Brewer.

Mr Brewer today said many indicators showed that people were putting off their Christmas shopping until the last minute this year, adding a lot of pressure to this coming weekend.

“We’re hopeful there won’t be another crash but nonetheless it’s important people are as prepared as they can be. We’re advising retailers to dust off their old manual zip zap machines and stock up on carbon chits. We’re also advising shoppers to keep a bit of cash in the wallets this weekend just in case.”

“Last year’s crash saw shop assistants in a frenzy and shoppers dropping everything and walking out frustrated at the long queues. It was all very costly and inconvenient and no one wants it to happen again.

“Given the significant fees retailers pay to Eftpos providers they will simply not tolerate another major electronic collapse at such a critical time. After quite a patchy year, retailers are looking forward to a good Christmas and they should expect nothing to get in the way of that,” said Mr Brewer.


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