Cash, Card or Crypto? Here are New Zealanders’ Most Popular Payment Methods
Hands up here still thinks that cash is king? Well, unless you’re a fan of money under the table, tax dodging, money laundering, or you have a heavy (healthy?) distrust in banks, you’re probably under the impression that “Cash? Who needs it? Yuck!”
Cash, card, or BTC?
Cash is annoying to sort, annoying to remember to get out, plus you can lose it in a coat pocket or falling out of your wallet at the bar when you’ve had one too many bourbons. The upside is that you might find it in your coat pocket after summer is over. With tap and pay so darn easy, it’s become hard to remember why cash is so useful.
But if you remember way back to 2015, you’ll remember the crashing economy of Greece, and how ATMs around the country ran dry. In times of serious economic peril, cash is definitely king, and hiding it under your mattress is safer than a bank – which may fold.
In fact, this time of economic regional stress is exactly what Bitcoin (and other cryptos by association) was supposed to solve. Bitcoin, at its most favorite perspective, was deemed to be a global currency, that could be traded and exchanged instantly and without cost, that was impervious to regional market stresses. As it turns out, its value is actually directly tied to global market stressors (in the US at least), exchanges are slow and can be pricey due to network saturation, and it’s traded more like a commodity rather than a currency. Satoshi Nakamoto (the inventor of Bitcoin) – if he/she is actually a real person – would be horrified.
With this long preface into payment methods, it’s time to address what Kiwis prefer when it comes to buying goods and services. Whichever method of payment is chosen, two of the main determinants when it comes to Kiwis’ choice are most definitely convenience and ease of use. And while it’s sometimes practical to have cash or some small change on the ready, there’s no denying that as time passes, moving towards a cashless era is becoming more of a reality.
This shift can be seen in different contexts, whether it’s a company making an inventory payment or someone playing at an NZ online casino. It’s becoming more and more evident that digital payments are being given preference now more than ever.
The case for cash
Cash rules everything around me, CREAM get the money… dollar dollar bill y’all! Perhaps Wu Tang Clan were right when they said that? Cash is certainly the preferred method of payment for many people. Card payment machines charge a percentage of the total for use. Cash goes straight to the pocket and can bypass the taxman if you’re being a bit dodgy. Plus, it’s fun to throw around, pretending you’re Leonardo DiCaprio on a superyacht in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Cash is… mainly ‘untrackable’ and untraceable. While each note has serial numbers, who’s hands it passes through on the way to its destination is widely unknown unless it goes to a bank or federal authority. Physical objects may be on the verge of passe but the case for cash is strong among the privacy-conscious and penny pinchers – among others.
The case for card
Oh boy, the case for card is strong, among users of pretty much anyone with a bank account. Tap at a restaurant, you’re done – and you might even only need your phone, not an actual card! Pay online in an instant with your Visa or Mastercard!
When you’re using card it kind of feels like funny money, because your hands never touch a note or a coin. But with card, convenience is A+, there is no argument. The only problem you might find yourself running into is at the end of the month when you’ve tapped too much. At least when you withdraw cash from an ATM, you’re aware of how much you’ve spent before you need to get out some more.
The case for crypto
Despite the lack of widespread use, the case for crypto is still strong – at least in theory. Less fees than credit/debit card transactions? No greedy bank fees? Send and receive with whoever, wherever, and whenever? A way to still it to the finance guys who’ve made a buck on everyone around the world due to an overarching monopoly? The tenants of crypto hold strong. But adoption is weak. Instead, crypto is treated more like gold, silver, or stocks, rather than money. While we think its a shame that crypto hasn’t caught on in the restaurants and boutique stores of Taranaki and Lake Hawea, it’s not exactly surprising, either. With more volatility than the NZD, it’d be difficult for merchants to accept payments in crypto with transfer confirmations taking too long and fees too high. There may still be hope for the future, but until then stick to Visa, Mastercard, or cold, hard cash.
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