EFTPOS, Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale, refers to the technology that allows a retailer to directly debit a customer's bank account by using a debit card. The debit card, generally the same as an ATM card, is swiped through a reading device just like a credit card. The customer must enter his or her PIN, generally requested once the amount of the sale has been entered into the EFTPOS device.
There are many advantages to using an EFTPOS for the retailer and customer alike. The retailer is paid 'instantly' without having to accept actual cash. Though cash is certainly preferable over credit cards with surcharges, or personal checks that can bounce, there are many security liabilities surrounding the handling of large amounts of cash. Cash must be manually counted by the cashier at the POS, counted again when the register is balanced out, and finally collected by an armed service or personally deposited. With EFTPOS, the money is wired directly into the retailer's bank account as soon as the transaction clears, bypassing those liabilities while saving manual resources.
The customer also comes out ahead using EFTPOS, due to its considerable convenience. A shopper need not have cash on hand, credit cards, or a checkbook to make a purchase. This is especially convenient for unplanned or impulse buying. The customer can also get cash back from the transaction -- another convenience. Furthermore, if an item needs to be returned to the store, an EFTPOS sale may allow the patron an instant cash refund, notwithstanding store policy. Contrast this with personal checks which require a customer to wait two weeks or more before a cash refund can be offered. Finally, EFTPOS saves the consumer money by sparing personal checks and ATM fees to withdraw cash.
EFTPOS is extremely popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Some manufacturers of EFTPOS systems include: EFTPOS, Ingenico, Axalto, Sagem, Thales, Trintech, Verifone, and Hypercom.