Recently, the Reserve Bank has upgraded New Zealand’s currency and gave way to lots of discussions on whether New Zealand is becoming closer to being called a cashless society.
These changes give a great opportunity to learn more about the New Zealand monetary system and to find out whether Kiwis prefer cash or electronic money. Especially considering how greatly electronic payment systems have improved during recent years. In this article, we will explore the topic in more detail: how Kiwis relate to cash and whether the introduction of e-wallets and online payment methods will inevitably lead to significant changes in how locals make purchases.
It is impossible to say whether all New Zealanders prefer cash because it depends on a variety of factors: age, security, culture, and level of experience with technology. The biggest advantage of cash is complete anonymity and many Kiwis prefer paper money exactly for this reason.
Another interesting observation concerns the wealth of the population. According to recent research, Kiwis with lower income are more likely to pay with cash. That is why cash will continue to circulate, especially among people with low income, elderly citizens, and those, who don’t have a computer or mobile.
Of course, if you love gambling or shopping, it’s more convenient to use local currency to make deposits in online casinos or to purchase on Amazon. But New Zealanders love their dollar and any time new banknotes are released, the paper money circulation increases.
This phenomenon was called the ‘paradox of banknotes’ and can be found in many countries. It means that the cash in circulation continues to increase, while its use – decreases. Most likely, Kiwis are still too attached to their paper money and can’t move to cash-free society as quickly as other nations.
Researchers call New Zealand an e-commerce market with a steady growth of online spending per person. Such events as Singles Day and Black Friday greatly contribute to the e-commerce market.
According to this research by J.P. Morgan, on average, every New Zealander spends online $1,876 per year. The most active shoppers are aged 30-44 and have an average of 27 online transactions. Not surprising that online payments are steadily replacing cash. Top e-commerce segments among locals are travel, electronics, gambling, groceries, clothes, and household goods.
The most popular online payment methods, which Kiwis use include:
- EFTPOS cards to deposit and withdraw the funds in a bank account;
- Debit and credit cards, which usually have convenient Internet banking and can be used even for mobile purchases;
- E-wallets. They come in a huge diversity: Neteller, Skrill, and others;
- Prepaid cards. It can be bought in a local store and used online. Usually, such cards have a unique PIN code and you need to enter it without providing any personal details. PaysafeCard is one of the most popular prepaid cards among Kiwis;
- Cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and altcoins don’t require an introduction: they are fast, secure, and completely anonymous. However, at the moment there are not many places, where you can pay with cryptocurrency.
New Zealand can boast an extremely high smartphone penetration reaching almost 80%. This, in turn, leads to a dense mobile e-commerce market: every third online purchase is made on a smartphone or tablet. Every year Kiwis spend $1,3 billion via mobile. According to prognosis, the annual mobile payments will grow on 22 percent by 2021 exceeding the market of desktop sales.
And considering that 15-24-year-old New Zealanders on average spend over six hours per week online on their mobile compared to other categories, the market is likely to target this niche and eventually move from desktop to mobile payments.
Thanks to the growing market, more and more platforms, applications, and websites offer their services. Mobile users have a wide range of options to choose from, making mobile purchases convenient, fast, and secure.
Which one is the winner?
It’s not a secret that New Zealanders have an emotional relationship with paper money and love their national currency. However, the world is moving to a cash-free society and the number of Kiwis, who use electronic payments continues to grow.
Cash is used less and New Zealanders prefer making purchases on their desktop computers and smartphones. We think that the process is irreversible and it’s rather possible that very soon online payments will completely replace cash.
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