23 October, 2020

Westpac NZ sets out plan to go cheque-free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment.

Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021.

Westpac NZ General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth, Gina Dellabarca, says cheque usage is declining rapidly as more and more customers switch to 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.”

Ms Dellabarca says Westpac NZ is 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.”

These activities include:

  •   Collaborating with SeniorNet to offer free face-to-face workshops and online seminars that teach participants about digital banking and staying safe online.
  •   Delivering enhanced training to 150 digital ambassadors who will proactively work with cheque users in their community.
  •   Using a variety of direct communications, including letter, email and phone, to help cheque users identify other ways of banking.

Ms Dellabarca says the Westpac NZ team look forward to introducing cheque users to the benefits of alternative payment methods.

“We know some cheque users will be concerned about the transition, and are yet to discover the security and convenience of online payments. 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.”

A summary of the main changes are as follows:

  •   27 November 2020 – The final day new cheque facilities will be opened and chequebooks will be reissued automatically. (Manual chequebook renewals will be available by exception for four months after this date). 
  •   26 March 2021 – The final day chequebooks and bank cheques will be issued.
  •   25 June 2021 – The final day cheques can be cashed and deposited at Westpac NZ. This is also the final day any Westpac NZ cheques can be deposited at any other bank.