New Zealand could become cashless by 2028 - survey

  • 26/06/2018
ATMs could become as rare as old telephone boxes in New Zealand.
ATMs could become as rare as old telephone boxes in New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty

Cash is on the road to extinction in New Zealand, a new survey suggests. 

The popularity of digital payments could turn New Zealand cashless by 2028, making ATMs as rare as old telephone boxes, according to an MYOB survey of 400 Kiwi businesses. 

More than one in three Kiwis (36 percent) predict the local economy will be cashless within 10 years, according to the survey, while a further 42 percent believe it will take two decades. 

The most popular methods of payment in New Zealand today are bank transfers (71 percent), online payments (64 percent), credit cards (40 percent), and Eftpos (39 percent), the survey found. 

Within 10 years, it will be "as rare to pay for things with notes and coins as it is to use a cheque," says MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey.  

The survey discovered that only half of New Zealand businesses use cash and 12 percent have shifted to mobile payments. 

Ms Luey has urged industry leaders to embrace a cashless economy, claiming it would be simpler, cheaper and lower risk for local business owners.

But she admits that as online payments continue to grow, so too does the likelihood of fraud. 

"It's everyone's responsibility from consumers themselves to digital commerce providers, to ensure card data is protected," says Ms Luey.

Scandinavian countries are even further advanced. The Norwegian government is planning to eliminate paper money by 2030, while in Sweden, half of all banks are now refusing to process cash withdrawals or deposits.

Martin Howard, owner of Eden Espresso Bar and Coffee Station in Papakura, questions why people bother carrying cash anymore. 

"You don't need it to pay for parking, you don't need it to catch a bus or a train," he says. 

Mr Howard says when the time comes, within the next five to 10 years, he would consider making the transition to a cashless business.