May 11, 2022

Redesign of the treasury system is essential to support the evolution of use

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua says its latest survey highlights the need for deliberate changes to the treasury system to keep it resilient and efficient while still being needed and wanted by New Zealanders.

Read the summary report: 2021 Cash Use Survey

Almost two-thirds of New Zealanders used cash to pay for everyday things when surveyed late last year (2021), up from almost all of us in 2017 and 2019.

“While the proportion of New Zealanders who appear to be cash dependent remains stable at 6%, over the past six years there has been a significant drop in the number of those of us who sometimes pay cash , dropping from 96% to 63% of those surveyed,” says Head of Money and Treasury Ian Woolford. “As in previous years, these people are more likely to be older, poorer, rural or Maori.

“In the meantime, it is clear that it is increasingly important for many of us to have money in reserve in times of uncertainty, with the percentage of us increasing from 37 to 46% from 2017 to 2021.

“Our latest survey suggests that cash users find it harder to find places to deposit money, while ATMs and supermarkets are the main source of withdrawals,” says Woolford.

“Having cash available, accepted in-store and easily deposited is key to well-functioning local economies and communities where everyone is included. The closure of bank branches, fewer ATMs, and the reduction or elimination of cash services offered by banks are contributing to the decline in usage and hardship.

“We are currently consulting on ways to improve the cash system and support the use and acceptance of cash. We encourage people to review our Treasury System Redesign Consultation Paper and welcome all views. The consultation document was released last November and closes for submissions next Monday, March 7, 2022,” says Woolford.

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