Cash could become commercially unviable

A Reserve Bank survey has found that nearly nine in every 10 New Zealanders prefer to pay for things without using cash.

Assistant Reserve Bank Governor Christian Hawkesby told Morning Report it's a clear message from the public.

"That's just evolving with times, evolving with technology but from where we sit we need to ensure that the cash system evolves with society's use of payments."

It may require government intervention to ensure we don't lose cash all together, he said.

"What we're seeing is that the vast majority of people want to use electronics as their primary payments but there are still pockets of society that are still very reliant on cash."

These communities include the elderly, the young, parts of the Māori community and those that are isolated, he said.

"We need to ensure that we still have a system that's fit for purpose for all of society."

Access to cash isn't a problem, he said.

"But if the use of cash continues to fall then it could become commercially unviable."

The Reserve Bank needs to continue to work closely with banks to ensure the incentives are there for them to continue to provide cash, he said.

The survey also found 75 percent of people carry some cash on them.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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