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HomeNEWSWill Kiwis ever ditch cash for good?

Will Kiwis ever ditch cash for good?

The survey found 36 percent of people said they could live without cash and use other payment technologies in a few years’ time, while almost half (41 percent) said they would consider paying for goods via their smartphone.

MasterCard has also found that the number of people using contactless payments has increased 20 percent compared to one year ago.

With all this said, is New Zealand its on its way to becoming a cashless society?

A spokesperson for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said data gathered by bank disputed these findings.

“Contrary to the MasterCard survey results, and most peoples’ expectations, the historical trend is that currency in circulation is growing not declining,” she said.

In December 2015, there was $5.1 billion of coins and notes in the hands of the public, compared to $4.3 billion in December 2013 and $4.7 billion in December 2014.

This included $4.9 billion worth of bank notes, compared to the $1.5 billion worth of notes in 1996.

“The Reserve Bank is agnostic on the payment methods that people wish to use but we have no reason to believe the historical trend in currency in circulation will change in the foreseeable future,” the spokesperson said.

First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson says there is a rising trend in consumers “travelling light” with just a card and phone when they shop, dine or do activities.

“This is a step-change from the days of wallets or cash in the pocket and signifies people’s comfort and confidence with technology,” Wilkinson says.

“This is spanning a range of age groups, but does tend to trend more in urban centres or our larger metropolitan towns.”

He says there aren’t really any benefits for retailers when it comes to cash, apart from avoiding card fees.

Cash is also an inconvenience to customer self-service, which is on the rise in stores.

Wilkinson says cash does pose a danger to staff of theft occurring, as well as the risk of shrinkage from internal theft.

“With heightened health and safety obligations from April 1 this is a further factor businesses are considering.”

High-end stores in metropolitan areas might also gradually start pulling out of cash, like upmarket supermarket Farro Fresh has done, with most stores only accepting electronic payments.

However, Wilkinson says the provincial areas of New Zealand still see a lot of cash being used, as do some sub-markets, and it will be some time before that changes.

“Like all countries we have that sub-economy – such as markets, some small trades and secondhand sales where cash and bartering remain strong. Changing some of these behaviours and perspectives will be of greater challenge for our banking and Government.”

The payment methods survey participants thought would replace payment methods like cash included mobile payments (44 percent) facial recognition or fingerprint payments (21 percent) and wearable technology (18 percent).

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