For a small business, choosing the wrong EFTPOS machine can turn out costly, particularly when the margins are tight and you don’t know where you stand in a couple of years. You don’t want to tie yourself to a longer-than-necessary contract, and transaction fees and monthly costs (if any) should be fair for your level of sales.

In Australia, a lot of EFTPOS readers come from the banks, but there are few more modern terminal providers offering simplified pricing for those preferring pay-as-you-go fees and no commitment.

Let us look at the five EFTPOS machines we believe are the best deals for small businesses in Australia.

EFTPOS
provider
Upfront
cost*
Ongoing costsOffer
Square$59 – $439 (purchase)No monthly fees or lock-in
Transaction fee: 1.9% or 1.6%
PayPal Here$90 (purchase)No monthly fees or lock-in
Transaction fee: 1.95% + fees for currency conversion & payouts
TyroNo setup fee (rental)$29 or $39/mo + GST
No lock-in
Transaction fees from 1.1% + GST
Mint mPOSNo setup fee (rental) $0/mo, or $10/mo + GST if less than $2k sales/mo
12-month contract
Transaction fees: 1.69% for Visa/Mastercard, 30¢ for eftpos

*Prices exclude GST.

EFTPOS
machine
CostsOffer
Square$59 – $439 + GST (purchase)
No monthly fees or lock-in
Transaction fee: 1.9% or 1.6%
PayPal Here$90 + GST (purchase)
No monthly fees or lock-in
Transaction fee: 1.95% + fees for currency conversion & payouts
TyroNo setup fee (rental)
$29 or $39/mo + GST

No lock-in
Transaction fees from 1.1% + GST
Mint mPOSNo setup fee (rental)
$0/mo, or $10/mo + GST if less than $2k sales/mo
12-month contract
Transaction fees: 1.69% for Visa/Mastercard, 30¢ for eftpos

When you decide which credit card machine is best, you should consider the following:

  • Do you want to lock in to a long-term contract?

  • Do you prefer a pay-monthly or pay-as-you-go solution?

  • Do you want to own the EFTPOS reader or happy to rent and return it once the contract is cancelled?

  • Do you want to accept eftpos payment cards?

  • Do you intend to add a surcharge?

We will highlight these aspects for each option.

Square – best value pay-as-you-go solution

Square
Square Reader with Terminal
Our rating
  • No contractual lock-in

  • No monthly fees

  • Choose app-based card reader or standalone touchscreen EFTPOS terminal

  • EFTPOS machines bought upfront, and then you own it:
    Square Reader: $59 + GST (offer here)
    Square Terminal: $439 + GST (offer here)

  • Square Reader card rate (fixed): 1.9%
    Square Terminal card rate (fixed): 1.6%

  • Accepts eftpos, Visa, Mastercard, Amex

Square was the first company in the world to release a card reader for mobile phones. Since its arrival in Australia, the local banks and other payment providers look backwards in comparison. Why? Because Square champions affordable pay-as-you-go solutions without contractual lock-in, hidden fees or complicated terms.

Photo: Square

Square Point of Sale EFTPOS machines

Square Point of Sale is, hands down, the most hassle-free payments platform for small businesses in Australia.

You simply pay for an EFTPOS reader upfront, which you then own forever, and pay only a fixed transaction rate for the card transactions you process. There are no monthly fees or other ongoing costs to worry about, nor do you have to return the hardware if you decide to stop using it.

You can choose between two EFTPOS machines. The first one, Square Reader, works in conjunction with a free Point of Sale (POS) app on your phone or tablet through the mobile device’s 3G, 4G or WiFi.

Accepted cards

EFTPOSVisaMastercardAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

The app has a wealth of features for most face-to-face merchants, e.g. product library, tipping, taxes, employee accounts and a customer library. On top of this, you get invoice tools, a virtual terminal for over-the-phone payments and the option to subscribe to ecommerce.

The other EFTPOS machine is Square Terminal, which only works through a secured WiFi connection. This terminal works without a connected mobile device and has a touchscreen display where you use more or less the same POS features as Square Reader’s POS app, just hard-coded directly on the terminal.

Since Square Reader is cheapest ($59 + GST), the transaction rate is also higher at 1.9% for all card payments, even for foreign, premium and eftpos payments. Card transactions cost a fixed 1.6% through Square Terminal, but then you pay $439 + GST for the terminal. Alternatively, you can split the cost into instalments paid over 3, 6 or 12 months.

Manual-entry payments – keyed in via the Square app or Virtual Terminal accessed in an internet browser – cost 2.2% per transaction.

There is no purpose-built surcharging feature, but it is possible to calculate and add surcharges to each transaction individually. Payouts are free and automatically reach your bank account in 1-2 business days.

Square Reader and POS app review: Ace value for small-business merchants

Square Terminal review: EFTPOS machine that works as complete checkout

PayPal Here – convenient for PayPal merchants

PayPal Here
Our rating
  • No contractual commitment

  • No monthly fees

  • Payouts in e-money account, transfers to bank account cost 1%

  • EFTPOS reader connects to app on phone or tablet

  • Card reader: $90 + GST

  • Card transactions: 1.95%
    + 3% above the base conversion rate for foreign currency cards

  • Does not accept eftpos cards

PayPal is best-known for its online payments, but its app-based card reader service, PayPal Here, is a very good EFTPOS reader compared to most competing options in Australia. It is pricier ($90 + GST) than Square Reader, but you own the reader after purchasing it, and it has a physical PIN pad.

PayPal doesn’t just deal with online payments – the PayPal Here reader is ideal for mobile card payments.

Card reader transactions cost 1.95% each regardless of whether it is credit, debit or a foreign card. The only card-related fee you pay extra for is currency conversion: it costs 3% above the base conversion rate to accept a transaction from a foreign-currency card.

In the PayPal Here app, it is also possible to key in payments for 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Payouts go directly to your online PayPal account, not a bank account. To transfer money to your bank account, you have to pay 1% of the transfer amount when you do the manual transfer (these are not automatic).

If you depend on money reaching your bank account regularly, PayPal Here is therefore not the cheapest option. That being said, the fast payouts in the online account could be beneficial for merchants needing quick cash flow to spend on online purchases.

Accepted cards

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay

PayPal Here does not accept eftpos cards, so customers have to use Visa, Mastercard or American Express. It is possible to add a surcharge manually to each transaction.

The mobile/tablet app connected to the EFTPOS reader has a good range of simple POS features including a product library, registering cash payments and sending email receipts. You can also send email invoices (keyed-in payment fee applies).

Learn more: PayPal Here Australia review – is it better than the competition?

Tyro – relatively simple rental without lock-in

Tyro mobile EFTPOS terminal
Our rating
  • Terminal rental without contractual commitment

  • No joining fee, no annual fee

  • CounterTop EFTPOS: $29 + GST
    Mobile EFTPOS: $39 + GST

  • Transaction fee for merchants with turnover of less than $20k monthly: 1.1% + GST for eftpos, UnionPay, domestic Visa & Mastercard (international cards 0.4% extra fee + a further 0.4% if using DCC)

  • Amex, JCB & Diners Club acceptance extra cost

  • Alipay can be accepted for 1.3% fee

Tyro offers a countertop and mobile EFTPOS machine for rental. Instead, you pay $29 + GST per month if you choose the stationary terminal, or $39 + GST monthly for a mobile terminal that works on 3G or WiFi. Either terminal can integrate with most POS systems.

There’s no contractual lock-in or setup fee, meaning you can get started without too much risk, and stop the service when you don’t need it any more – but you have to return the terminal when the plan is cancelled.

Photo: Tyro

Tyro mobile EFTPOS machine

Tyro’s EFTPOS machines are ideal for merchants who want a traditional device on a simple rental plan.

If your business transacts for less than $20,000 per month, your transaction rates are the following excluding GST. By default, Tyro accepts domestic Visa and Mastercard for 1.1%, with an added 0.4% for international cards as well as a further 0.4% if using DCC. Eftpos and UnionPay cards also cost 1.1%.

Accepted cards

EFTPOSVisaMastercardAmerican ExpressJCBUnion PayDiners ClubContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

It’s absolutely possible to accept American Express, JCB and Diners Club, but you need separate agreements to do that, which costs more, plus Tyro’s additional switching fee of 0.1% per transaction with one of those cards. Alipay can also be accepted for 1.3% per payment.

All in all, the rates for transactions are not as simple as PayPal’s and Square’s fixed card reader fee, but Tyro does allow a wider range of card acceptance options for merchants who, for example, get a lot of tourists with international cards.

If you make more than $20k monthly in card transactions, you can get custom fees.

Tyro’s EFTPOS machines are hard-wearing and look professional on a countertop or outside, though they are a lot bigger than an app-based EFTPOS reader.

If you’re planning to add a surcharge, the dynamic surcharging feature on the EFTPOS machines is perfect for whichever kind of surcharge you’re going for.

Mint Payments – acceptable mPOS from Australian company

Mint Payments
Our rating
  • EFTPOS reader works with mobile app on tablet/phone

  • No setup fee

  • 12-month contract subject to cancellation fees

  • Monthly fee: $0 if making over $2k per month, $10 for months where sales are less than $2k

  • Transaction fees: 1.69% for Visa & Mastercard, 30¢ for eftpos cards

  • Additional costs for Amex acceptance

If you want the (potentially) cheapest way to start taking cards in person, Mint mPOS is a good contender. Since you’re not buying the EFTPOS reader upfront, and the monthly cost is $0 as long as you’re making at least $2,000 that month, you can end up paying only transaction fees from the first month. The months you are making less than $2,000, however, a $10 monthly minimum fee applies.

Mint Payments review

Mint Payments’ mPOS reader is the same device model as PayPal Here’s EFTPOS reader.

The Mint mPOS solution comes with a 12-month contract through First Data, though. To cancel this contract, you have to provide a minimum of 60 days’ warning before the end of the contract, meaning if you decide to end the service in the 11th month, the contract will roll into another year’s term. If you want to cancel before the fixed contract, you pay the equivalent of 80% of the remaining costs you would have paid if you stayed until the end.

Visa, Mastercard (1.6% incl. GST per transaction) and eftpos cards (30¢ incl. GST per transaction) are accepted as default. American Express acceptance requires a separate contract with additional costs.

The card reader works in conjunction with a mobile app on your phone or tablet, but features are quite basic and the software is very rarely updated, which is a concern. If you want to add a surcharge, you can do that in the app.

Accepted cards

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressContactless

Transactions are processed fast with Mint Payments’ next-day payouts in your bank account.

If you prefer a traditional payment terminal, Mint offers an EFTPOS plan where you rent an Ingenico Move/5000 machine under similar contractual terms, but different fees.

Learn more: Mint Payments review: basic mPOS reader with 1-year lock-in