New Zealand ahead of the world in EFTPOS use

NEW ZEALANDERS are increasingly choosing to swipe their eftpos cards rather than fumbling with coins, and more so than overseas purchasers.

According to Statistics New Zealand, Kiwis racked up 92 million eftpos transactions in the retail sector in January, an increase of 0.4 percent since December.

“Approximately two-thirds of total spending in New Zealand is done electronically on eftpos and credit cards,” says Paul Whiston, spokesman for electronics payment provider Paymark.

This is significantly higher than worldwide usage. Just over 32% of worldwide consumer retail spending was card-based, according to 2012 research by Moody’s Analytics.

We are also more swipe-happy than our neighbours, Just under 41 percent of Australian spending in 2012 was done on debit cards, according to Mark Ebstein, Director of MWE Consulting.

“Cash continued to account for the majority of purchase transactions,” he says, adding that the majority of electronic transactions were now credit or debit cards.

Latest available EU figures, from 2011, show that the highest rate of electronic card spending is in Denmark, with 71% of its total transactions made using cards.

New Zealand is one of two countries worldwide where eftpos transactions do not incur charges to the retailer, says Mr Whiston.

Paymark processes three quarters of New Zealand’s electronic card transactions.

Mr Whiston says Paymark does not set a minimum limit on the amount that can be processed through its network or via a consumer’s eftpos card.

“However, there are instances overseas where merchants may set a minimum fee for eftpos transactions,” he says.

Hotels in Austin usually require a credit card or a debit card with funds available.

Ex-pat Katie Morgan agrees that credit card and eftpos cards are not as widely used in the UK.

“Everybody carries cash. It’s so different from New Zealand.”

She says that you wouldn’t be able to pay small amounts under five or 10 pounds (about $10 or $20) by eftpos in a UK shop.

“Most places have a minimum purchase, especially if you want to get cash out. There are also a lot of ATMs which charge you,” she says.

Another difference is that lots of young people have chequebooks, which she finds hilarious.


  • UK 56%
  • France 45%
  • Italy 38%
  • Germany 17%
  • NZ 66%


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