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Payments and the concept of legal tender

This article explains what legal tender is and how it works in relation to New Zealand's banknotes.

Nick McBride

We occasionally get questions from the public about the rules of legal tender. Typically these people have had a dispute with a seller over payment methods, for instance, a seller may insist on EFTPOS while the customer wants to use cash.

Other disputes also occur when 2 types of currency are circulating. This last happened in 2007 when there was a brief period during which the old-style cupro-nickel 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces were co-circulating with the new plated steel coins. At that time, there was some public discussion about consumers’ rights when sellers refused to accept the old coins in payment.

From late 2015, new Series 7 banknotes will be co-circulating for a while with the older Series 6 banknotes. The old notes will remain legal tender.