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Kiwis To Spend $530M On Credit Cards This Christmas

Millions of Kiwis will rely on their credit cards to fund the festive season, according to new research by Finder, a financial research and comparison website in New Zealand.

The nationally representative Finder survey of 2,001 New Zealanders aged 18 and above asked respondents how they primarily plan on funding Christmas.

More than one in four Kiwis (26%) are relying on some form of credit to pay for Christmas this year.

This is made up of one in five (19%) who will primarily fund Christmas with a credit card, and 7% who will use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services such as Laybuy or Afterpay.

Further Finder research shows that the average Kiwi is planning to spend $1,012 this Christmas.

If this credit card-dependent group put 75% of their Christmas-specific spend on card, this could amount to over $530 million ($531,110,865) added to December’s national credit card spend.

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, said Kiwis should be wary of getting into debt over the holiday season.

“While it’s tempting to splash out and make Christmas extra special this year, make sure you’re realistic about what you can afford to spend.

“There’s no point starting off the new year with a festive debt hangover, especially while we’re technically in a recession – don’t rely on credit cards you can’t afford to pay off," McHugh said.

Between November and January 2019, the average New Zealander spent a whopping $4,100 on credit cards.

“If you do resort to plastic, you may be able to save on interest costs by using a credit card with an interest-free period.

“This type of card charges no interest on your balance during the promotional or introductory period – usually around 3–6 months.

“However your rate will increase after this period ends so you’ll need to pay your balance off in full to avoid being stung,” McHugh says.

The research also shows most New Zealanders (73%) will rely on their savings to finance the festive season.

McHugh said there are a number of other ways people can reduce their festive spend.

“Consider setting a gift-buying limit among friends or family, regifting items you never use or purchasing second-hand goods as presents.

“After the year we’ve had, I think we’ve all come to realise that family and friends are what makes Christmas truly meaningful, not presents,” McHugh said.


  • This study was designed by Finder and conducted by Qualtrics, a SAP company.
  • The online survey was conducted using a nationally representative survey sample of 2,001 New Zealand residents aged 18 and over.
  • The average credit card spend between November and January was calculated by using RBNZ data on the total card spend and dividing it by the percentage of people that have a card.

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