- Westpac will no longer accept cheques as a mode of payment from 25 June 2021 due to rapidly falling cheque usage as more customers switch to digital payments.
- Cheques represent less than 1% of bank payments with the figure continuing to decline, as per Westpac NZ manager Gina Dellabarca.
- Major banks have announced plans to no longer accept cheques, with BNZ and ANZ phasing out cheques from July 2021 and by the end of May 2021, respectively.
The COVID-19 lockdown has prompted customers to use automated and internet platforms for their everyday banking needs, leading to a gradual reduction in the use of cheques.
Recently, Westpac has announced that it will not accept cheques as a means of payment from 25 June 2021.
Gina Dellabarca, Westpac NZ General Manager of consumer banking and wealth, stated that the usage of cheques had been falling rapidly as more customers shifted towards using digital payments.
She also added that though cheques have a long and proud legacy, digital payments provide people with faster, more comfortable, and safer banking option.
Cheques now represent less than 1% of the payments made with the percentage expected to fall even more in future.
Major banks signal a shift away from cheques
While BNZ will no longer accept cheques from July 2021, ANZ also revealed its plans to phase out cheques by 31 May 2021 and stop issuing cheque books by 30 November.
ANZ spokesperson stated that the cheque usage had fallen 20% YOY between 2017 and 2018 and less than 1% of the ANZ customers had been using cheques frequently.
Kiwibank had announced its plans to stop using cheques in May 2019 and stopped accepting cheques from 28 February this year. ASB has also indicated its plans to stop taking cheques but did not provide any date for the same.
Assisting users while using digital banking
Westpac NZ has been assisting cheque users in using alternative ways to make payments. The Bank has been working with personal, business and government customers who either write or accept cheques to help them in switching to digital payments.
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Westpac has been working with SeniorNet to provide free face to face seminars to educate people on digital banking and remain safe online, training 150 digital ambassadors and connecting with clients on other ways of doing their banking, as per Dellabarca.
Recently, the Bank has also noticed a spike in adults helping their parents who use cheques, to shift to other forms of payments.
Westpac will issue final day chequebooks and bank cheques on 26 March 2021 and 25 June 2021 will be the last day to cash in and deposit cheques.
By the end of the trading session, shares of Westpac Banking Corporation, last traded on NZX at NZ$20.04, up by 0.91% from its last close, as on 23 October 2020.
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