Merchant Success Stories

Another World Computer Centre

Still charging for card payments? You’re on another planet!

Since 1989, Paul Pritsis has been running Another World Computer Centre. The Melbourne-based computer business offers customers a range of products and services; from PCs, tablets, smartphones and accessories, as well as data recovery, repairs and virus removal. Priding itself on quality products and an outstanding personal service, the store has twice been awarded by the Australian Achiever Awards after nominations and feedback from customers.

Since its inception in the eighties, Paul’s business has been ahead of the times when it comes to offering customers choice around the different ways to pay. Paul has never felt inclined to impose a minimum spend or premium on his customers who choose to pay by card. It would appear that Paul is one step ahead as Australia edges ever-closer to becoming a cashless society with more and more individuals opting to make payment by card. Whilst you might expect the rise of the millennials to be to blame for ridding Australia of its dollar notes and coins, a recent study has found that this is not the case. There has been a 14% YoY increase in 30-49 year who wish to use card for small transactions, now with 67% of the age group preferring this*.

“My customers have absolutely always had the option to pay by card”, says Paul. “The charges we incur for card payments is such a small percentage of our business costs, so I’m not going to add a charge for customers who just want to top up their Myki by $5 and hinder their day.

“Another World Computer Centre offers a wide variety of products to customers and we have many large and small transactions, from a few dollars for accessories to a few hundred dollars for hardware. Many customers ask if there is a minimum spend if they pay by card when approaching the checkout and I feel happy to tell them that there is not. I would never want to leave a customer with a sour taste in their mouth for something as silly as restricting their payment method.

“Over the years, I have of course noticed an increase in customers opting to pay by card. One day this week, I took $100 in cash and $1500 by card payment – the figures speak for themselves.”

Other brick and mortar businesses need to follow Another World Computer Centre’s example and catch up, as more people ditch the paper for plastic. 56% of Australians now choose to visit another store if there are limitations when making payment by card*. For small businesses, losing up to half of their customers for such a menial reason could be financial suicide, especially as large online retailers continue growing momentum here in Australia.

*2017 survey commissioned by Mastercard

Tranquility Crafts ‘N’ Supplies

Minimum spends are hanging by a thread

With 4 out of 5 Australians resenting restrictions when making payment by card*, such as minimum spend limits and fees for usage, many small business owners have been reviewing their policies and making a switch to zero dollar minimum spend.

Keeping the practice of embroidery and patchwork alive, Joanne Ferguson owns and runs Tranquility Crafts ‘N’ Supplies, ‘a true little gem and treasure’, in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds.

Since Joanne acquired the store 25 years ago, she has long been a specialist supplier for embroidery, cross stitch, patchwork, embellishment, ribbons and folk art needs. The store also runs a range of classes; from teaching people the basics of needle work, all the way up to bigger patchwork and embroidery projects.

For Joanne, her customers’ experience is paramount and she understands their needs from her own attitudes as a customer.

“I find it very irritating when there is a minimum spend or charge when I pay by card for a product or service. I personally just do not believe in it and I refuse to take my custom to places that do not have a zero dollar minimum spend.

“Since taking over Tranquility Crafts ‘N’ Supplies I have always had a zero dollar minimum spend for customers who opt to pay by card. I cannot expect my customers to pay a premium for using card if I refuse to do this myself as a customer.

“Many of my customers share the same opinion on the matter as me – that they would choose to shop elsewhere if there are card limitations. Others have explained that they enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being able to drop into the store and just grab something small without having to worry about costs and if they have any cash on them.”

Joanne believes that businesses should take responsibility for any charges incurred when a customer pays by card, just as they would any other utility bill.

“As a business, any charges from payments made by card you should absorb as you would any other cost. If you are not prepared to do this, then simply do not accept card as a payment method. Do not put your business expense on to your customer.

“I have found more and more people choose to pay by card rather than carry around cash, so business owners will have to review their policies otherwise face the fact that they may be left behind.”

*2017 survey commissioned by Mastercard

Pattison’s Patisserie

Let them eat cake instead of worrying about cash

Over the course of 20 years Pattison’s Patisserie has grown from a humble bakery in St Ives, to include 11 stores around town. Founder Peter and Michelle Pattison say the key to their success is giving people what they want. And that is almost always cake.

Another way of keeping customers happy has been the adaption of new technology. Two years ago the couple introduced Tap and Go payments, allowing them to abolish minimum spends on card transactions, making things easier for customers and freeing up more time for staff.

In the past Pattison’s Patisseries had a $15 minimum spend on card transactions to cut down on lengthy transactions, but after switching to Tap and Go, the minimum spend was abolished. Instead they introduced a surcharge for small purchases, but it was abandoned the first week, after too much negative feedback.

“Customers hated the surcharge. We spend so much time building our brand and the trust and loyalty of our customers, we don’t want to annoy them over small things like this. Their satisfaction is essential,” says Peter.

Peter says it is clear that more customers now prefer card to cash. Something he welcomes, since it means less room for error and fraud and reduces the security risk of having large volumes of cash on the premises. There is also a reduction in staff costs, as counting and banking cash for many stores is an enormous undertaking. Most significant is the way card reduces queues – essential in a high transaction volume environment such as a café or bakery.

“Ultimately, we make decisions about our processes based on what will best meet the needs of our customers. By keeping this at the forefront, we can ensure we are not just delivering the exquisite pastries we are famous for, but consistently offering excellent service,” said Peter. “Making it as easy as possible to purchase from us is paramount.”

Juiced Life

Not all juices are created equal for health

There is no doubt about it – Australian consumers are becoming more aware of the need to eat and live healthy.

Juiced Life’s franchisee and all-round brand ambassador Jarryd Barry is keen to see that change.
“Our big emphasis is education – essentially arming consumers with accurate knowledge and information as well as providing them with the experience which will encourage them to pursue their personal health goals,” he said. 

A fact which remains hazy to consumers is that most juices available on the market are full of artificial sugar, nasty preservatives and not at all healthy.

“We want to make a difference by providing a product that has real health benefits, whilst educating the general public on the positive impact fresh fruit and vegetables can make on their lives,” explained Jarryd.

The firm belief in the concept led him to boldly jump with both feet into the business, opening his store at Fountain Gate late 2015. Since its inception, Juiced Life has quickly expanded to four stores across NSW and VIC and a fifth is due to open within the month at Highpoint Shopping Centre.

With ambitions to increase presence and adoption by the market, Juiced Life is a keen adopter of technology to support positive in-store experiences.

Each store is equipped with iPads to manage the customer interaction.

In the same vein, Juiced Life has implemented no minimum spend for card transactions from day one of operations. 

“We would not want to create any hindrance to a potential customer interaction and Juiced Life journey with a minimum spend restriction,” he explained.

Jarryd added that customers at his store have been pleasantly surprised when informed at point of purchase that there was no minimum on card spend.

The zero minimum policy has also helped younger employees, who are able to focus on delivering great customer service when ringing up the transaction, without the added layer of stress of explaining the cashless purchase restriction to members of the public.

“The owners of Juiced Life have one collective mission – to help Australians on their personal journey to consume, live better and achieve optimal health. We are only just getting started.” 

Your Local Roaster

Going back a step in time for the best customer experience today

Adam Moon’s vision for the newly rebranded Your Local Roaster is to add a personal, humane touch to all aspects of the customer’s experience. His inspiration? The days gone by.

“Melbourne is an incredibly busy place and it will only get busier. We believe a place that encourages the young and old alike to stop and smell the roses (or coffee) will be a breath of fresh air,” he added. 

That said, Your Local Roaster’s experience for customers does not limit the business from keeping up with technology and changes in the needs and demands of customers.  

Customer experience is paramount
The recent decision by the retailer and wholesaler to abolish the minimum spend on card transactions is one example of how the business does not shy away from experimenting with technology.

“We were seeing a larger volume of card transactions increasing across the board, whether they were paying for a kilo of beans or a coffee. Typically, customers topped up to meet the minimum spend and yes, that meant the business was getting a larger sale out of customers. However, that’s not the impression we wanted to leave our customers,” shared Adam. 

“Our aim is to make things as simple and convenient for customers and one way we have achieved that is by doing away with the minimum spend and leaving the choice of payment in their hands,” said Adam, adding that he has seen significant positive impact the switch has created on returning customers.

Adam has had plenty of time on the road to get the formula of Your Local Roaster right, having spent the last fifteen years taking care of the wholesale business supplying beans to over 150 cafes and restaurants.

“The time allowed me to work on these ideas to refine what has been a great traditional, local business the last twenty years and offer the type of customer experience which will outlast this generation and the next,” he said.

“Now, it’s time to bring these ideas to life. Improving customer’s experience using technology is just one step in that direction.”

Spin Coffee

A Spin on Customer-First service culture

The resemblance between the technology and hospitality industries would not come as immediately to most people as they do to George Kozman, former wholesale distributor of technology products and now co-owner of stylish Melbourne CBD café and catering business Spin Coffee.

“Both business models see high volume with a strong focus on customer connection. What this means is, your point of difference is always going to come back to service. Making it easy for customers to do business with you and making each experience a good one is what’s going to keep them coming back, whether you’re selling F&B or toner ink cartridges,” George said.

A simple mantra when it comes to his approach is not presenting any aspect of the business to the consumer that he doesn’t believe in as a consumer himself.

“I know what frustrates me as a consumer and I know to make sure my customers don’t go through the same frustrations on my watch,” he said.

The customer is king

Barriers to transaction are just one of his pet peeves. On one of George’s visits to the US about a decade ago, he was exposed to what he felt was a significantly superior customer service approach.

“The customer is truly king for American retailers. Back then, there were already no additional fees, no minimum spend requirement at point of sale. Whatever card you pulled out at a café or at the shops was equally welcomed and accepted,” he explained, adding that the Australian service sector still has some way to go.

Banking on customer-first

Located in the St James building on Bourke Street, Spin Coffee is also seeing growing demand for its corporate catering business. George is banking on the customer-first principles of good food and great service to succeed in the highly competitive F&B scene.

“Business owners need to view providing card payment option as an investment in a fantastic customer experience. It’s no different from investing in the right service crew or keeping a great ambience at your premises,” he added.

From an operations perspective, the business has seen huge benefits in the adoption of electronic payment technology in making service more efficient. Approximately 50% of the café’s daily transactions are now electronic.

“At the end of the day, we appreciate that consumers will always have a choice. We need to make it easy for them to do business with us so they don’t walk down the road to someone else who will.”

Euro Cafe

Zero Minimum the perfect choice for Euro

Euro café in Sydney’s CBD has been in business for fifteen years, servicing the numerous offices that populate the busy George Street and surrounds.

A typical day at Euro will see a combination of seated groups huddled deep in conversation under the glass-roofed lobby or individuals dashing through to grab a coffee just in time for their next meeting.

The person who ensures that both these components of the business are being met is Usha, who has managed Euro for seven years. As a part of her desire to serve her valued customers as best she can, the decision was made in January 2016 to adapt to the ever-evolving habits of Aussie consumers and committing to a zero dollar minimum spend.

Proudly displaying a ‘No Minimum Spend’ sign at the point of sale, Usha welcomes her flurry of regulars, citing these relationships as the favourite part of her job.
“I love seeing satisfied customers. Card payments are the most popular method of payment for our customers, more specifically, tap and go, which is hugely popular. Previously, we did have a minimum spend but as the prominence of tap and go payment systems and usage increased, we jumped at the chance to improve payment offerings and in turn, customer experience. Now, as people realise they won’t be charged a fee for simply grabbing one of two items, they leave even more satisfied. As a direct result, we’ve seen our customer and sales increase since January 2016.”

The removal of a minimum spend was a no-brainer, noting that people are carrying less and less cash.

“Euro Café prides itself on providing customers with an array of choice; from skinny, soy, gluten-free or on-the-go, and payment method is no different. Removing the minimum spend has allowed Euro café to serve up something special, and transform itself into a business that is the place to go. Looking forward, in the next few months, we will potentially go cashless.”

Customer Success Story

Jaimee-Lee Morrow

Cashless lessons to be learnt from the land of
the free

Returning home after spending four years in America, I quickly discovered that millennial Aussies are leading the way toward a cashless society, with over 70 percent* preferring to use cards for small transactions. I liked the sound of this, as I believe that the ease of using a debit card or phone to pay is unparalleled, with coins continuing to weigh us (and our wallets) down with inconvenience and pesky (germy) jingling. And while a majority of Aussies do see us heading to complete cashlessness, some small businesses and their lack of adaptability is limiting our options as consumers.

I will admit that I have wholeheartedly bought into the idea of a cashless future and have basically been living it for half a decade. During my time in the U.S. I relied almost entirely on a little piece of plastic as my form of payment, from buying a pack of chewing gum or a quick coffee (and yes, the coffee in the States is as comparable to dirt as you’ve heard) to hitting up a clothing store. Australian retailers are already one step ahead of their American counterparts with the ability to offer ‘tap and go’ contactless payment technology, which allows us to reduce the handling of grubby coins. I’ve never doubted in Australia that my card will be accepted, where card acceptance is universal.

Things are different back home, which I found out quite quickly. On one of my first lunch breaks at my new job, I was shocked to be told that my $7.00 sushi lunch was going to cost me at least $10 if I was planning on paying with plastic. The ever-cashless millennial, I had no cash in my pockets, and I’d already had my California rolls packaged up, so I had no choice but to purchase an unnecessary drink to get me over that pesky $10 minimum line.

And while three dollars in the grand scheme of things really isn’t a big deal, it was frustrating to be limited of choice after becoming so dependent on card payments. America prides itself on being the land of the free, and I’ve often considered Australians to be equally – if not perhaps more – lacking in restriction, but when I was not entitled to the choice of something as both simple and personal as my payment method, freedom became questionable. We all deserve the right to decide how we want to spend our money, and shouldn’t be forced to lug around a coin purse or a heavy wallet on the off chance that we really don’t have self-control and will die without that cupcake on a busy Wednesday afternoon (it happens to all of us).

Businesses have a responsibility to offer choice to their customers and support their employees, and eradicating a minimum spend on card transactions will help develop a more positive, hygienic and efficient environment. If an employee no longer has to awkwardly request that their customer spend more money, there is more time for genuine and authentic conversation, which, to me, is what choosing to support small business is all about; enjoying the more personal and customised experience. I don’t want to be that customer and have to get in a huff when I’m told I can’t use my card, as I’d much rather have a chat about my day or learn the employee’s favourite menu item. And while I understand that not everyone in Australia is keen for cashless, and some people do in fact love their coin purses, it’s about time businesses nationwide give us the right to choose.

During my time abroad, I became truly spoilt for choice when it came to payment – pay cash, pay card, there were even some people that accepted speaking with my Aussie accent as payment – and it’s about time that we as a free and constantly evolving country, are given simple choices that others have without question.


Kara Taylow

Cash money? More like cashless mummy

My two sons and I love to adventure. We jump in puddles, run around parks, go for long walks, hit the shops – making an adventure out of every day is our mission. Our adventures also include the weekly tradition of going out and getting a delicious treat from one of the many lovely local cafés, sitting back and relaxing as mummy enjoys her latte while the boys play together – what bliss.

Every parent knows that adventures with gorgeous (yet sometimes temperamental) kids have the potential to get a bit tricky. As the day wears on and those adorable little limbs tire, I often find myself with an additional thing to carry – a child backpack if you will – lugging both of them around for the final leg of the journey. And when it’s time to get dinner sorted, I often brave the local corner store and grab a few bits and pieces.

Here is the tricky part. The check out. The ultimate juggling act of child on one hip, shopping bag toppled full with bruise-easy contents such as bananas and berries hanging on for dear life on the opposite side’s limb, and me unzipping a coin purse with my teeth, trying to grasp the correct combination of coins and notes with the second set of hands I don’t actually possess.

If only there was a simpler alternative! If only there was a nationwide rule that said all businesses must allow me to grab a latte and babyccino or a few things from the corner shop and pay however I desire! If only I could simply bring one card and not worry about minimum spends on card payments!

I admit, I’m pretty passionate about having the option to go cashless, but I’m not alone, with over 70 percent* of Aussies also preferring to use cards for small transactions. Consumers and their behaviours have spoken: Australia is on the way to becoming a cashless society and it’s about time all businesses followed suit and scrapped having a minimum spend on card transactions.

It’s not as though the businesses themselves won’t be reaping any benefits. Zero minimum businesses have plenty to get excited about; faster queues and less stress for their employees, who don’t have to deal with grumpy, frazzled mums biting coin purses.

And yes, I understand that some people love paying with cash. On occasion I too have coins, they come in handy for pocket money for the kids! This is where the importance of the freedom to choose is key. As a consumer I should be entitled to decide what I wish to buy – and just as importantly – how I want to buy it.

As a busy mum with children keen to touch everything and attempt to eat everything, I’d rather keep coins at a safer distance. Paying with a card gives me both piece of mind and a hero for when the boys get tricky and the last thing I want is to mess around with cash. It’s easy, convenient, hygienic and efficient, allowing me to tap and go about my payment in seconds – leaving more time to adventure.


Philomena Stewart

The cashless key for young professionals

For me, living cashless just makes sense. As a young professional, working as a pediatric nurse on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, I’m always on the go and out and about, and my payment method of choice complements my behaviour. Whether it is day or night, when I head out the door I like to simply grab my card and be on my way. With the high prevalence of tap-and-go payment systems in Australia this works well, but there are still some businesses that are stuck in the past, creating speed bumps along my journey to complete cashlessness by requiring a minimum spend on card transactions.

It’s not like I’m the only person in Australia that would rather skip the cash and coins and bring my card out solo. Around 70 percent* of Aussies prefer to use a card over cash for small transactions. As the Aussie consumer culture continues to evolve with the likes of contactless cards and the mobile ‘pays’, it’s becoming more and more convenient to rely on cash-alternatives for everyday use. A quick sandwich for lunch? Easy. A couple of drinks at happy hour on Friday? You got it. A caffeine cure for that Saturday morning headache? No dramas. As technology continues to progress, cash is heading deeper into the shadows, pushed by the bright lights of the convenient card payment.

Regardless of the convenience that cards provide consumers, some businesses aren’t buying in and still require a minimum spend on card transactions. It’s clear that in 2016 not every consumer has bought into shopping with cards completely. People still pay with cash, but it’s still astounding that in the free and evolved country we call home there are places where our choices are restricted when it comes to something as simple as our payment method.

Part of the problem is the misconception that dropping the minimum means increasing fees dramatically. Convenience has become a competitor to costs, and businesses believe that removing the minimum spend will end up costing them big time in card machine fees. But what other cost does this have on businesses? Consumers have spoken in their behaviours, and they will continue to speak to one another. At my workplace minimum spend shops are avoided by many, as no one wants to deal with the additional hassles associated with complying with payment restrictions.

No one enjoys feeling like an idiot when they go to pay and in order to complete the transaction must awkwardly scramble for additional and most of the time, unwanted items to get over the minimum spend or for coins in the bottom of their bags. Customers also have the equally embarrassing alternative of abandoning the transaction entirely. It’s embarrassing for customers and it’s embarrassing for employees who are forced to tell them that their choice of payment isn’t good enough and that they must change to meet the demands of the business.

So, attention to all the businesses who are stubbornly digging in their heels at the thought of evolving and meeting the needs of Aussie consumers: please, save us the embarrassment and spoil us with choice. You’ll benefit as well, improving workplace efficiency and reducing germs associated with coins, as well as allowing your employees to relax at the register, free from the fear that someone who doesn’t tolerate old-school minimum spends will order something that’s $9:50.

As a young professional living in a lively city, I am continuously exploring, eating out and enjoying my surroundings. I no longer wish to feel weighed down by the burden of carrying coins nor large amounts of cash for that matter, or restricted even by outdated minimum spend requirements. We deserve the right to choose what we do just as much as the choice of how we wish to pay for it.