Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions that come up when we kōrero moni - and their answers.  This list will grow as questions come in or get raised in Cash Conversations. If you can’t find the answer to your question here or on our wider website then you’re welcome to ask us directly – and we may even add your question and answer to this list.

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No, the Reserve Bank believes that cash will be around for some time.  It does want to understand the implications of less cash being used, particularly if it becomes harder to get and use by people who don’t have other ways to pay.

No. Retailers and others do not have to accept cash for payment. The exception is if you are wanting to pay off a debt. You can find out more about payments and legal tender in this Reserve Bank article - Payments and the concept of legal tender (PDF 57.40MB).

No. Only about 10 percent of all New Zealand money that’s readily available for someone to spend is in cash, and the rest is electronic money. Most money is created when banks and others lend money.

Yes. It is legal to charge a fee for cash transactions, in the same way that we can be charged fees for using other ways to pay, such as credit cards.

The Reserve Bank has an emergency supplies of cash for New Zealand stored elsewhere, along with back-ups for all of its main functions so these can still be delivered if its Wellington premises or staff are not available.

The Cash Conversations – He Kōrero Moni programme will run through most of 2019. Late in the year we hope to report back on where the work looking at the future of cash use and the future of the cash system is at. Depending on what we find, this may include specific recommendations for change, and formal consultation processes depending on the nature of any changes proposed.

The Reserve Bank wants to build a strong and shared understanding of what any problems with less cash will be, and then what – if anything – should be done about that. It is too early to reach any conclusions on any aspect of this.