Another major bank to ditch cheques

Photo: Getty Images
Westpac is to stop accepting cheques by June 25, 2021. Photo: Getty Images
Westpac is to stop accepting cheques after June 25 next year.

The bank signalled it would make the move in May and today announced the final cut-off date.

Gina Dellabarca, Westpac New Zealand general manager of consumer banking and wealth, said cheques usage had been declining rapidly as more customer switch to using digital payments.

"Cheques have a long and proud legacy, however, the speed, safety and ease of digital payments has changed the way people bank.

"Cheques now represent less than 1% of payments and that figure continues to fall. We've reached the point where it makes sense for us to focus our payment options on the future, not the past."

Westpac isn't the first to make the move.

Kiwibank announced it was ditching cheques in May last year and stopped issuing new cheque books in September last year. It stopped accepting cheques on February 28 this year.

All of the major banks have signalled they will stop taking cheques at some point next year.

BNZ has said it will phase out cheques by July 2021. ANZ will stop issuing chequebooks by November 30 and stop accepting cheques by May 31, 2021.

ASB have also signalled they will stop taking them but have yet to put an exact date on the cut-off.

Dellabarca said Westpac was helping cheque users explore other ways to pay.

"In recent years we've been working with our personal, business and Government customers who write or accept cheques to help them move to digital payments and we're stepping up our activities in that area as cheques are phased out."

As part of that, it was working with SeniorNet to offer free face to face workshops to teach people how to do digital banking and stay safe online, giving training to 150 digital ambassadors and communicating with customers about other ways to do their banking.

Dellabarca said it knew some cheque users would be concerned about the transition.

"We want to help them on that journey.

"Anecdotally, we have noticed a recent increase in adults helping their cheque-using parents move to other forms of payment. It's great seeing families lifting their financial capability together."

The final day chequebooks and bank cheques will be issued is March 26, 2021, and June 25 will be the last day cheques can be cashed and deposited at Westpac and it is also the last day any Westpac cheque can be deposited at any other bank.

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