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Report indicates cheques in natural decline

Report indicates cheques in natural decline

Payments NZ, the organisation responsible for overseeing New Zealand’s payment systems, today announced the results of a report it commissioned on cheque use in New Zealand. The report has revealed that the use of cheques has been declining rapidly for nearly a decade, but that some groups and individuals still make use of the fading payment form.

Since 2004, the number of cheques issued in New Zealand has declined by 10 per cent every year. Chief Executive Steve Nichols said that cheque usage is likely to continue to decline naturally, as other payment forms meet consumers’ needs.
“New Zealanders are world leaders in the uptake of electronic payments. Since 2004 we’ve seen around 700 million annual EFTPOS transactions spike to approximately 1.4 billion this year” said Mr Nichols.

Mr Nichols said that Payments NZ, along with banks, needed to think carefully about how to manage the decline, to ensure that the payments system continued to operate smoothly, and alternatives to cheques were available, secure and effective.

“We know that over 95% of payments by New Zealanders are made through non-cheque means. But the most interesting statistic from this report is that 93% of the people who are still using cheques are only using them as a second or third alternative payment – meaning they are also using some other payment method, such as EFTPOS, credit cards, or internet banking. This means that very few consumers are wholly reliant on cheques, and most people are comfortable with other payment methods.

“The natural decline, and the range of suitable alternatives, means that rather than removing cheques from the New Zealand payments landscape, our task will be working with the sector and the community to find ways to manage the declining use,” said Mr Nichols.

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