The Tyro Blog

23 January 2023 - 11 min read

EFTPOS Education

What is EFTPOS and how does it work?

What is EFTPOS?

EFTPOS is a common term in the world of commerce, but what exactly does it mean? Electronic funds transfer at point of sale, otherwise known as EFTPOS, is a technology that allows customers to pay for their products or service with a debit or credit card. 

EFTPOS lets you accept electronic payments in your store, giving your customers more ways to pay. 

As cash as a form of payment acceptance continues to decline in Australia¹, EFTPOS is a crucial business service that customers have come to expect. It’s just one of the reasons why you need an EFTPOS solution for your business.

A brief history

EFTPOS technology emerged in the United States during the early 1980s.² 

Introduced to the Australian market four years later, in 1984, EFTPOS made speedy and secure card payments at the cash register possible for the first time.³  

This payment method revolutionised the Australian consumer market – so much so that in 2016, card usage surpassed cash usage for the first time ever; that year, 52 per cent of payments were made using debit or credit cards.4

How does EFTPOS work?

Now that you know what EFTPOS is, you’re probably wondering how EFTPOS works. 

The foundation of this payment system is an EFTPOS machine. This electronic device does all the heavy lifting – reading cards and moving money along – to make transactions happen. 

When a customer inserts, swipes, or taps their card on an EFTPOS machine, their payment request is sent to the business’ acquiring bank, for example, Tyro. Almost instantly, we send a request to the cardholder’s bank to make sure funds are available and that everything looks legitimate. If everything is in order, the green light is given. A hold is then placed on the funds and the funds are moved from the issuing bank to the acquiring bank. The acquiring bank then settles the total funds into the business’ bank account, completing the transaction. This process is all done securely, using encrypted data, to keep information safe and secure.

Accepting card payments

As we’ve mentioned, EFTPOS machines accept both debit and credit cards. While these cards typically look identical, they both work very differently.

What is a debit card?

A debit card is the most basic form of payment card that is generally linked to your everyday bank account. It uses the money you already have, instead of money you don’t.

What is a credit card?

A credit card lets you borrow funds from your bank to purchase goods and services, and pay them back, subject to each card’s conditions.

Debit card vs credit card

The biggest difference between debit and credit cards is that debit cards don’t usually incur fees, while credit cards usually do.

Tap and go payments

Tap and go is a modern advancement of electronic funds transfer technology.  

Also known as contactless payments, tap and go lets customers hover their card over an EFTPOS machine to make a transaction – no inserting or swiping needed. 

All of Tyro’s EFTPOS machines accept Tap & Go payments, keeping things convenient.

Fees and charges

It costs money to process card payments. As a business, the fees and charges you have to fork out will vary depending on the card being used. 

Tyro Tap & Save5 is a great feature that offers your business least-cost routing to automatically find lower cost ways for you to process eligible Tap & Go debit card transactions through the cheapest network. With Tyro’s Dynamic Surcharging6, you can also automatically apply your configured surcharge so you can recover some or most costs of accepting card payments easily. 

Want to keep your card transaction fees down? Here are 3 strategies for reducing card transaction fees.

Online purchasing

Both debit cards and credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services over the internet, via eCommerce. This makes them multi-functional, working with payment systems both in-store and online. 

How do you pay by EFTPOS?

Paying by EFTPOS is simple.  

All customers have to do is pull out their physical plastic card, or a digital version of it on their mobile phone, or wearable device, and use it on an EFTPOS machine.  

EFTPOS machines can live on the countertop or be brought to consumers wherever they are with mobile options now on the market.

Cheque, savings, or credit

When customers make a payment from their cheque or savings account, this travels through Australia’s debit card payment system, eftpos. When credit is selected, this payment could go through a variety of networks including Visa, Mastercard®, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, or UnionPay (these are all called schemes).  

Other payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay, which are used for mobile devices or wearables, operate differently. These are all routed via one of the schemes, depending on the cards that are loaded in the digital wallets.  

Customers are also now able to pay with Alipay7, a popular Chinese payment app, on Tyro’s EFTPOS machines.

Choosing the best type of EFTPOS

As we mentioned earlier, offering up an EFTPOS solution to your customers is critical to your business (customers just won’t come if they can’t pay the way they want to).  

There are many types of EFTPOS solutions up for grabs, to suit the unique needs of your business.  

Let’s go through Tyro’s EFTPOS solutions, so you can work out which one might work for you.

Tyro’s EFTPOS solutions

Tyro offers three different types of EFTPOS solutions – Countertop EFTPOS machine, Mobile EFTPOS machine, and the Tyro Go. Each has distinct capabilities that set them apart, as you’ll see below.

Countertop EFTPOS machine

Our fixed EFTPOS machine, the Tyro CounterTop EFTPOS machine is designed to take payments directly from the counter or in a fixed location of your choosing.  

Staying put in its designated spot, the Tyro CounterTop EFTPOS integrates with over 330 POS/PMS systems, so you can enjoy seamless transactions and spend less time doing money admin. It also processes payments in sub 1.5 seconds8 so you can cut down on queue time for your customers. 

This stable and robust EFTPOS solution offers integrated Medicare Easyclaim for primary health and Private Fund Claiming for health funds9

Tyro CounterTop EFTPOS accepts all major debit and credit card types, including Visa, Mastercard®, eftpos, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, and UnionPay. It also accepts Alipay and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay granted an accepted card type is loaded onto the wallet.

Mobile EFTPOS machine

Designed for versatility, the Tyro Mobile EFTPOS machine is a battery-operated machine that allows you to take payments to your customers. Built for any industry – whether retail, health, or hospitality – it’s an easy way to elevate your customer service experience and put more power in your customers’ hands. 

Like its CounterTop counterpart, the Tyro Mobile EFTPOS machine supports over 330 POS/PMS systems for seamless, integrated payments. The Tyro Mobile EFTPOS machine, however, has the added bonus of hospitality specific features to help you make the most of your bar, cafe, or restaurant. These include BarTabs, Pay@Table, SplitBills10, and Tipping. 

Unlike Tyro CounterTop EFTPOS, our mobile option doesn’t accept Private Health Fund claims, only Medicare Easyclaim. 

Tyro Mobile EFTPOS accepts all major debit and credit card types, including Visa, Mastercard®, eftpos, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, and UnionPay. It also accepts Alipay and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay granted an accepted card type is loaded onto the wallet.

Tyro Go EFTPOS reader

Tyro Go is a portable payments solution that allows you to take payments wherever your business takes you. Small and lightweight, you can slip Tyro Go into your pocket, bag, toolbelt (or wherever you need it11), ready to whip out when you need it. 

Tyro Go comes with a free Tyro Go App that can be downloaded to your iOS or Android smart device. Tyro Go connects wirelessly to the Tyro Go App via Bluetooth so you can take payments from the palm of your hand. Tyro Go accepts Visa, Mastercard®, eftpos, American Express, JCB, as well as digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Additionally, Tyro Go allows you to produce paperless e-receipts that are sent directly to your customer’s email address – no printing needed.

How to set up EFTPOS

Depending on the EFTPOS solution you opt for, you’ll need to have certain features at the ready to integrate it into your business. These can include:

  • an internet connection, such as WiFi or Ethernet  
  • Bluetooth-enabled device

From here, it’s a matter of following the instructions to hook everything up. 

Tyro makes it easy to find, install and start using an EFTPOS solution that suits your business. Get in touch with us to set one up, no fuss.


As a business, being able to do electronic funds transfers is essential.  

Fast, integrated payment systems like Tyro EFTPOS make it easy to take advantage of the thousands of customers who prefer the convenience of card payments, helping you keep those customers coming.

Want to take your business further with Tyro? Get in touch!

1 Reserve Bank of Australia. (2020). Consumer Payment Behaviour in Australia. 

2 Techopedia. (n.d). Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS). 

3 eftpos. (n.d.). About eftpos. 

4 Reserve Bank of Australia. (2016). How Australians Pay: New Survey Evidence 

5 Tyro does not guarantee any cost savings by opting in for Tap & Save. Savings on eligible transactions processed through the cheapest network vary for each business depending on their card mix, transaction volume and amount, industry, and pricing plan. Eligible transactions are contactless debit card transactions less than $1,000. Tap & Save is not available on Special Offer pricing which includes some flat fee simple pricing offers or where you surcharge on debit card transactions as cost savings may not be realised. For details refer to or call 1300 00 TYRO (8976). 

6 Dynamic Surcharging is available for Mastercard, Visa, eftpos, UnionPay, American Express, JCB, and Diners Club on CounterTop EFTPOS and Mobile EFTPOS machines, and excludes Card Not-Present transactions.  By default, we do not include your EFTPOS machine rental costs into the calculation of your cost of acceptance, however you may choose to apply these costs into your calculation of your cost of acceptance via the Tyro Portal subject to the surcharging rules as set by the RBA and enforced by ACCC. 

7 Alipay and UnionPay acceptance available in-store through your Tyro EFTPOS Facility (subject to eligibility 

8 Average time taken to authorise a Visa, Mastercard, eftpos payment transaction, during the period 1 Feb 2022 to 30 April 2022. Measured as the time elapsed from a cardholder presenting the card on the EFTPOS machine to the return of the authorisation on the EFTPOS machine from the card schemes. 

9 Medicare Easyclaim and HealthPoint are only available where the POS/PMS supports the integration. You should make your own enquiries in regards to this. 

10 Tyro’s Pay@Table, SplitBills and BarTab features are only available where the POS/PMS supports the integration. SplitBills is only available with Tyro’s Pay@Table feature. 

11 Tyro Go EFTPOS reader is compatible with Apple iOS 11 or later and Android 8.0 or later and requires a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device or tablet, the Tyro Go EFTPOS Reader App to be installed, and mobile network coverage. 

Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. 

Google Pay is a trademark of Google LLC.   

Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.