Close up of hands making an eftpos transaction

Having an EFTPOS machine at your place of business is stock standard throughout New Zealand, and they do a pretty decent job of keeping your money safe… most of the time.

If you’ve ever used an EFTPOS machine, you’ll know they have many different functions available on the terminal. A sad string of news stories has come out of Australia recently following a group of people being referred to as the ‘EFTPOS Bandits’ who have been manipulating the functions of EFTPOS machines to their advantage. They insert their card but not far enough in for it to register, while an accomplice makes conversation with the employee to cause a distraction. They then cancel the transaction, and manually enter the card details of a stolen credit card to complete a fraudulent transaction.

There has been much debate following these stories about the security of EFTPOS machines and whether it is a flaw in the machines that has led to these scams. The fact is that the function these scammers are abusing cannot be coded out of the software, without severely inhibiting the utility of the machines. Even though it’s not ideal, that means it’s up to business owners to maintain the security of their terminals. In today’s blog, we’re going to outline some easy ways business owners can pick up on scammers before they get the chance to commit fraud.

Pay Attention

As an employee behind the till, it is proper etiquette to give customers some privacy when they are completing an EFTPOS transaction, because their pin number is their own business, not yours. That said, it’s important to pay attention. The EFTPOS machine scams in Australia were carried out by cancelling the transaction involving a pin, and then entering stolen card details manually. This function on the machine has to be there in case a card is faulty and needs to be entered manually, but it takes a bit longer to enter card details than to enter a four-digit pin.

While remaining polite, if you notice a customer taking a little longer than it would usually take to plug in their 4 digit pin number just ask them if they need any assistance. Letting them know you are aware of the extended time they are taking to complete the transaction will in most cases spook a potential scammer.

Eliminate Self Service

These EFTPOS scammers were taking advantage of the fact that the EFTPOS machine was handed to them in trust, to complete their transaction as they wish. In order to maintain utmost security when undertaking EFTPOS transactions, it’s good practice to eliminate as many self-service aspects of the transaction as possible.

An easy way to stop scammers is simply to ask for their card when undertaking a transaction, so that you can insert or swipe it yourself and make sure it is used properly. All the customer has to do on their own is press which account their transaction goes out of, and enter their four-digit pin. Lots of retail businesses use this method, so it shouldn’t seem out of the ordinary to a customer.

Utilise CCTV

It’s a lot easier to catch criminals when you have high resolution images of their face on camera. While this isn’t a way to catch a scammer before they commit fraudulent behaviour, it does make it a lot easier for them to be caught in the act, and prosecuted for their actions. If your business has CCTV already, make sure there is footage of people’s faces as they complete transactions. If your business doesn’t have CCTV, it can be an incredibly helpful investment if you’re worried about being scammed.

Invest in an External Pin Pad

One sure-fire way to make sure these kinds of scammers stay away from your business is to get rid of their opportunity to scam in the first place. The only way to access all the main features of an EFTPOS machine – including the features that allowed the alleged Australian scammers to take advantage of the EFTPOS machine – is through the main terminal. You can prevent scams by investing in an external pin pad for transactions, which allows you to present customers with a way of paying without access the rest of the EFTPOS features.

This piece of equipment only accepts contactless payment, so for other payment methods you get to have full control of the card insert or swipe functions from behind the register. If they wish to make their payment manually – which is how the alleged scammers were successful – they need to ask the store employee, which can result in fraudulent behaviour being detected much easier.

An excellent option for external pin pad technology is the Ingenico iPP280 PIN Pad used in conjunction with the iCT220 EFTPOS terminal. This gives your customers a contactless payment option, or the option to enter their pin externally from the main EFTPOS terminal.

Talk to the experts

Scammers will always be out there and finding a way to commit fraud. As long as you are alert to how they do it, and know they’re out there, you are well on your way to staying on top of the game and keeping your business safe.

If you’d like to discuss more about external pin pad technology and more EFTPOS terminal technology with the most up-to-date security measures in place, contact us today.