As banks start phasing out cheques for customers across New Zealand, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) says its members are unhappy with the decision.
“The response was the highest we’ve ever had for a survey in three years. So, it’s clearly an issue for rural communities,” says RWNZ policy manager, Angela McLeod.
According to the survey, the main use of cheques was paying monthly bills, purchasing farm supplies, and paying tax.
Over 70% of respondents voiced concerns over the phasing out of cheques.
42.5% of respondents said they still wrote out cheques for purchases and expenses.
Of those who used cheques, 75.2% said they posted them to make their payments.
“The goal is not to create a permanent stay of cheques, however, to create a viable option for those who do not yet have the connectivity options,” says RWNZ board member and social issues portfolio convenor Sharron Davie-Martin.
“Rural communities don’t have the technology or access to consistent technology to carry out their banking transactions - they have to use cheques.
“Cheques will get rid of themselves eventually, however, we want places to be able to accept cheques until technology is at a point where farming and rural communities can safely use the internet for their banking transactions,” says Davie-Martin.
She adds that while banks say they will help their customers learn to use online banking, that option wouldn’t help those who don’t have reliable internet connections.
“All we want is for banks and other institutions to just keep accepting cheques until technology is at a point where every rural household has good, reliable internet – that’s it.”