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Cash You Later: 1 In 3 Kiwis Have Ditched Physical Currency

Measures encouraging contactless payments during the pandemic may speed up the decline of cash in New Zealand, according to Finder, a global comparison site recently launched in New Zealand.

A recent Finder survey of 2,133 respondents revealed that one in three Kiwis (33%) no longer carry cash in their wallet.

The research also found that half of Kiwis (50%) withdraw cash less than once a month, while 13% say they no longer withdraw cash at all.

This comes as Payments NZ last week announced that Paywave limits are temporarily increasing from $80 to $200 over the coming weeks, in a bid to limit the spread of germs through PIN pad usage.

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, said that although the Paywave limit increase is temporary, it’s indicative of the future of payment methods in New Zealand.

“As a result of the pandemic, Kiwis are shopping at stores less but spending more each time they visit to make up for it.

“This higher grocery spend means shoppers are more likely to use cash or their pin code at the counter, which facilitates the spread of germs.

“Upping the Paywave limit means Kiwis are less likely to put their health at risk by entering their PIN at the EFTPOS terminal or handling potentially contaminated currency,” McHugh said.

Findings from the Reserve Bank’s Public Consultation on The Future of Cash Use show that almost half of Kiwis (45%) think cash will eventually be harder to get and use.

Of this group, over a quarter (26%) think it will happen within the next five years, while 22% say it will happen within the next decade

McHugh said that going completely cashless may be closer than anticipated.

“New Zealand is already ahead of other countries when it comes to cashless payments, and instances like this Paywave limit increase may help to speed up the decline of cash.

“It will be interesting to see whether this temporary Paywave limit becomes the new normal post COVID-19,” he said.

How many times have you used an ATM 
in the past month?
0 times 13%
1-5 times 35%
6-10 times 15%
11-20 times 14%
21-30 times 3%
30+ times 10%

Source: Finder, New Zealand survey

Do you still carry cash in your wallet?

Baby Boomers 81% 19%
Generation X68%32%
Generation Y56%44%
Generation Z60%40%

Source: Finder, New Zealand survey


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