Will COVID-19 ensure Kiwis cash out?

Cash may once have been king but, in a more virus-conscious world, a cashless society could well be a safer option. However, many Kiwis still need to come to grips with the technology involved, Ingrid Cronin-Knight from MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) contends.

“Any strategy to reduce reliance on cash in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 will need to be accompanied by a comprehensive education campaign,” she says. “Surprisingly, many New Zealanders are still in the habit of carrying cash, with a small but significant number relying on it for regular payments.”

During the lockdown, most businesses still open have required people use means other than cash. This has presented problems for some, particularly older people who, while being more vulnerable to infection of COVID-19 are also the demographic most inclined to use cash, Ms Cronin-Knight confirms.

“While experts have been predicting the end of cash for some time, it is a well ingrained habit. Survey respondents also told us they prefer to use cash to reduce bank fees and surcharges, and to avoid eftpos minimums.

“Efforts like banks’ move to reduce costs for retailers to use contact-less payment systems will likely help make those more widespread, but the cost of transaction fees are also something that is holding New Zealanders back from using their cards more frequently.”