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NZ payments stats - a year in review

11 December 2015

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Here’s a look at how Kiwis made payments in 2015. We've picked out some key statistical facts and notable trends.

 

Transactions made per year

Here we compare how many transactions a New Zealander1 made on average in 2015 versus 2010. Per capita, New Zealanders clearly prefer electronic payments. 

 
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One trillion dollars of electronic payments

To make payments between customers at two different banks, participating financial institutions use Payments NZ’s Settlement Before Interchange system. In twelve months to October 2015, this system processed electronic payments worth $1 trillion.7 That is twelve zeros! The vast majority of payments cleared in this system were direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits.

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Cards vs electronic debits and credits usage

The two main types of electronic payments New Zealanders make are cards (debit and credit cards) and electronic credit and debit (direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits). New Zealanders use these payments for different purposes: cards are generally used to purchase goods, and electronic payments are generally used to pay bills, receive salaries and move money between accounts. Comparing these two electronic payment methods provides some insight into their different uses.

 
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 1:4 total volume ratio:
For every one electronic credit and debit transaction made, New Zealanders make four card transactions.8
1:13 total value ratio:
For every $1 spent using cards, $13 worth of electronic credit and debit payments are made.9
The number of electronic credit and debit payment transactions are growing at 5.9% per year.10  This is slightly higher than the 5.7%11 growth in total card transactions (combined debit and credit cards).


 
 

Average transaction value

Different payment methods are used for different purposes and this is evident in average payment values. The snapshot below compares the average transaction value per payment instrument as at October 2015.

 
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Bill payments are the fastest growing electronic payment instrument

Of the four main electronic debit and credit payment instruments14, bill payments are growing the fastest. From October 2014 to October 2015, the total value of bill payments grew by 17.5% and the number of transactions grew by 7.1%.

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Cheque to electronic payment ratio

The dominance of electronic payments over paper-based payments is growing. In 2010, for every one cheque written, New Zealanders made 18 electronic payments (combined debit and credit cards, and electronic debits and credits). In 2015, this increased to 51 electronic payments for every cheque written.15 That’s almost a three-fold increase!

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Cheque usage has halved in 3 years

Per capita, in October 2012 each New Zealander wrote on average 1.264 cheques, with a monthly total of 5.59 million. In October 2015, cheque volumes halved to 0.625 per capita, with a monthly total of 2.88 million.16 Cheque’s annual rate of decline is 22.4%.17

 
 

Bank ATM machines and ATM cash withdrawals have peaked and declined slightly

The number of bank operated ATM machines peaked in 2011 at close to 2,700, and has since been gradually declining to about 2,550 in 2014. Total cash withdrawals from those ATMs peaked in 2010 with approximately $17.2 billion, and has since gradually dropped to approximately $16.0 billion in 2014. Note this excludes independent ATM operators.

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1. Based on a population of 4,609,000 as at October 2015 and 4,362,0700 as at October 2010. Source Statistics NZ.
2. Source statistics NZ. For period Nov 2014 – Oct 2015, and for period Nov 2009 – Oct 2010.
3. ibid
4. 12 months to October 2015 and 12 months Nov 2009 – Oct 2010. Electronic credits included are direct credits, bill payments, and automatic payments. Electronic credits exclude transactions between two customers of the same bank. Including these transactions would make the numbers higher.
5. 12 months to October 2015 and 12 months Nov 2009 – Oct 2010. Direct debits exclude transactions between two customers of the same bank. Including these transactions would make the numbers higher.
6. ATM withdrawals are from bank owned ATM machines only and exclude transactions from independent ATM operators. Calculated using total 2010 and 2014 total cash withdrawals.
7. $1.04 trillion. Note this excludes transactions between two customers of the same bank. Including these transactions would make this number higher.
8. Based on 1,473.5 million debit and credit card transactions from Nov 2014 to Oct 2015 compared to 405.8 total direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits cleared through the Settlement Before Interchange system for the same period. Note that the Settlement Before Interchange system excludes payments between two customers at the same bank (called on-us transactions), whereas card payments between a cardholder and a merchant who use the same bank are included. Including on-us transactions would decrease the ratio further.
9. Based on $74.4 billion total credit and debit card value from Nov 2014 to Oct 2015 compared to $948.2 total direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits cleared through the Settlement Before Interchange system for the same period. Including on-us transactions would increase the ratio further.
10. Combined volume of direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits cleared through the Settlement Before Interchange system in 12 months from Nov 2014 to Oct 2015 totalled 405.7 million transactions. This was 5.852% higher than twelve months prior (Nov 2013 to Oct 2014), which totalled 383.3 million. Data source Payments NZ.
11. Combined debit card and credit card volumes in 12 months from Nov 2014 to Oct 2015 totalled 1,473.5 million transactions. This was 5.71% higher than twelve months prior (Nov 2013 to Oct 2014), which totalled 1,394 million. Data source Statistics NZ.
12. High value customer-to-customer payments are MT103 payments made for either major customer transactions such as house purchases, large corporate transactions, or for the domestic leg of a crossborder foreign currency transaction.
13. The NZClear system is a wholesale payment system for settling securities, equities and cash positions.
14. Direct debits, bill payments, automatic payments and direct credits.
15. Uses the statistics from the above 2015 vs 2010 per head of population analysis, excluding ATM withdrawals.
16. Based on total population of 4,411,800 in Oct 2012 and 4,609,000 in Oct 2015. Population source Statistics NZ.
17. In October 2014, 3.71 million cheques were processed. In October 2015 2.88 million cheques were processed, a decline of 22.4%.

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