Future of money news and resources
This page has our latest news releases, reports and information releases relating to the future of cash and cash use.
Future of money news releases
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We invited feedback on a series of issues papers. This will help us to test our thinking about how we should approach our new role as steward of the money and cash system. It will also make sure that central bank money continues to do its job in light of significant changes affecting how New Zealanders pay, receive and save money.
We are currently seeking feedback on our proposed approach to the opportunities and challenges from new forms of private money such as cryptoassets, including stablecoins. Consultation is open from 7 December 2022 until 3 April 2023.
Read more about the Future of Money – Cash System Redesign
Read more about the Future of Money – Stewardship
Read more about the Future of Money – Central Bank Digital Currency
A speech delivered to Payments NZ’s The Point 2022 conference in Auckland on 9 November 2022 by Karen Silk, Assistant Governor and General Manager for Economics, Financial Markets and Banking. Read the speech in full.
The 2021 survey is the third in a series, following on from 2017 and 2019 (available below). The key findings from this survey are:
- The use of cash as a way to pay for everyday things has declined sharply. In 2019, 96% of New Zealanders used cash as one of the ways they pay for everyday things, this had reduced to 63% in 2021.
- 40% of people who use cash do so less than twice a week.
- The proportion of heavy cash users declined to 2% in 2021 from 5% in 2017.
- The main reason for people who report using cash as a way to pay is because the shop/stall only accepts cash. For 42% of Māori one of the reasons they use cash is for cultural reasons (such as Koha and gifting) compared to 24% for non-Māori.
- 91% of people who report using cash use an ATM as one way of getting cash out, but only nine percent use a teller at a bank.
- 8% of cash users find it somewhat difficult or very difficult to get cash out while 24 percent said the same about depositing cash.
- Between 2017 and 2021 the proportion of New Zealanders storing cash (and not for immediate use) rose from 38% to 46%.
- There are significant differences between Māori and non-Māori when it comes to cash use. Cash is the preferred way to pay for 22% of Māori compared to 12% for non-Māori.
- Rural New Zealanders are more likely to be concerned about a reduction in cash use within society compared to those living in urban areas.
We commissioned 4 independently run research workshops to better understand how New Zealanders value cash despite most of us not using it much.
‘While not universal, workshop participants’ valuing of cash money and a desire for its continued use is dominant… [T]he idea of a managed transition was also frequently heard.’
The needs of vulnerable groups and the maintenance of a payments choice giving autonomy and independence were principal drivers. Financial education, cultural users, privacy, ‘and a lack of faith in alternative [payments] systems’ were also considerations, the research report says.
‘It is widely and strongly felt that funding the continuation of the cash system is the responsibility primarily of the banks due to this being a perceived obligation of their right to do business in New Zealand and their perceived high profitability in New Zealand,’ says the Kantar New Zealand report. Alternatively, participants preferred taxpayer funding the system over expecting users who had less choice and money to pay directly.
[Please note this research used indicative costings for the cash system and cash use to stimulate discussion; however, these costings are not official Reserve Bank of New Zealand costings or to be relied upon for any purpose.]
Download The Value of Cash insights report (PDF 4 MB)
In June 2021, we released a special report on 'Cash and payments data update: COVID-19 special'.
The report showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline in transactional cash use, compounded by accelerating reductions in banks’ branch and cash services, and despite New Zealanders’ rush to cash in March 2020:
- About 70% of the population indicated in 2020 that cash is one way they use to pay for everyday things, compared to 96% in 2019 and 2017.
- The value of cash withdrawals has reduced from February 2020 by about 20%—likely due to less demand from New Zealanders and an absence of international visitors.
- Digital banking and contactless payments are increasingly popular. Contactless is now the preferred way of paying for most New Zealanders (36%) and over 70% of people are making payments from their bank accounts.
- The closure of branches of the five major banks accelerated between September 2019 and March 2021, with about 211 branches closed over that time. That was just under a quarter (24%) of the 863 branches that were operating in September 2019. Additionally, the portion of branches operating on reduced days and hours has increased and now appears to be about half of all branches operated by the major five banks. Rural areas have been more affected by changes to the branch network than urban centres.
- Since 2019, there has been a notable increase in the number of self-service checkouts in New Zealand. The majority (about 70%) of these checkouts now only accept card payments compared to 2019 when about 80% accepted both cash and cards.
- Most New Zealanders can pay using their preferred method most of the time, and this is slightly higher for cash users compared to those who pay using other methods.
- While transactional cash use has been declining in general, there was a sharp increase in demand for cash in New Zealand as the COVID-19 pandemic started to seriously impact the country. In the weeks leading up to the nationwide lock down in March 2020, we issued about $800 million was issued compared to $150 million in March 2019. Most of the cash withdrawn in March 2020 has not been returned to us.
This December 2019 report presents research and analysis we did in 2019 as part of the Future of Cash – Te Moni Anamata programme. The programme is designed to anticipate and plan for New Zealand’s cash requirements for the next 15 to 20 years.
This June 2018 report presents research and analysis we did as part of the first stage of the Future of cash – Te Moni Anamata programme.
It presents the programme’s initial assessment (as at June 2018) of the current state of the cash system, which includes:
- the cash distribution system
- the public’s use of cash in New Zealand
- trends in cash use
- the impact of payment and currency technology advances
- the long-term resilience and efficiency of the cash distribution system.