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Cashless Kiwis embrace digital wallets

16 Apr 13

New Zealanders are continuing to move away from cash, favouring electronic cards and internet banking as the digital wallet replaces conventional payment methods.

That is according to MasterCard’s Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities released today, which documents a shift in culture among consumers, ditching notes and coins for cards and websites.

MasterCard says debit cards were the most common choice for everyday expenses such as groceries (42%), dining out (41%), and personal care goods (38%) and services (33%).

However, when it comes to retail shopping (43%) and the purchase of household goods (42%), most Kiwis prefer to use their credit card, while internet banking is the preferred choice for mortgage/rent (58%) and utilities payments (46%).

“The way Kiwis are paying is changing as consumers move away from having cash in their wallets, increasingly towards using debit and credit cards for over-the-counter purchases," says Albert Naffah, country manager, MasterCard NZ.

"Although cash is still popular when it comes to purchasing small ticket items, such as public transportation, most people are choosing to use some form of electronic payment option for all other purchases or expenditure."

The news even overshadows recent plans from both MasterCard and Visa centered on killing off the credit card to pave the away for a mobile payment era among customers.

“The days of carrying cash are numbered and it’s clear that New Zealand is moving steadily towards becoming a cashless society," Naffah says.

"We already know that Kiwis lead the world in the adoptions of electronic payment solutions with a strong willingness and readiness among consumers to adopt mobile payment methods.

"Electronic payment means consumers can keep a much closer watch on how and where they spend their money, and as savvy money managers, the ability to track their spending appeals to Kiwis.

Although MasterCard don't expect cash to ever fully disappear, the launch of the company's "Future of Digital Payments" will serve to decrease the need to use cash for everyday purchases.

“Locally, we’ve seen the desire to pay by card helping drive demand for businesses to offer contactless payment technology," Naffah says.

"With many of New Zealand’s most popular retailers now allowing customers to ‘tap-and-go’, and with digital wallet technology expected to be available locally in the future, we’re at a real tipping point when it comes to contactless technology adoption.”

New Zealand retailers including Bunnings, Kmart, The Warehouse, Resene, Repco, BP and Countdown are already offering consumers the options to ‘tap-and-go’ on payments under $80.

For more on this topic check out the May issue of NetGuide, where MasterCard NZ will talk in more detail about the rise of online shopping and the surge in smartphone payments among Kiwis.

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