19 Jun 2019

Today's business news: What you need to know

8:25 pm on 19 June 2019

Latest - The country's balance of payments deficit - the difference between what the country earns and spends internationally - has narrowed slightly.

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Photo: 123RF

Official figures show a surplus of $675 million for the three months ended March, compared with a $3.5 billion deficit in the previous quarter.

The change came about from an improvement in the overseas trade and services accounts.

The annual deficit narrowed to $10.6 billion, equating to 3.6 percent of the economy's value.

The country's net investment liabilities - essentially how much is needed to be borrowed - also narrowed.

Ezi Finance fined by ComCom

A Whanganui finance company is being forced to repay more than $400,000 to borrowers after failing to comply with credit contracts laws.

The Commerce Commission says Ezi Finance had key information missing in its loan documents, including borrowers' cancellation rights and the company's registration details.

Ezi Finance offers loans of up to $5000 and reached nearly 1500 contracts with more than 650 borrowers when its forms did not comply.

It has reached a settlement with the Commission which will see it refund some fo the interest and costs of affected borrowers.

The company has since updated its information.

ASB switches to Google Pay

ASB is ditching its phone payment system for Android smart phones to make way for Google Pay.

ASB Virtual won't be available to new customers from today and existing customers will be removed from the service next month.

It'll be replaced with Google's version which allows customers to use their phone like a paywave eftpos card, tapping it on terminals to make a purchase.

ASB already offers Apple Pay, which is the same product for iPhones.

Givealittle up for sale?

Spark is looking to sell its crowd funding donation platform Givealittle that it has owned through its charitable trust, the Spark Foundation, since 2012.

Spark operates Givealittle as a not-for-profit but has invested $8m into it over that time to cover the cost of developments and operations.

The telecommunications company says the time is right to look for a new owner for it.

Spark says it's open to a range of new ownership options, but any proceeds made from a potential sale will go towards other charitable ventures.

New rules for property buyers/sellers

While most of the recommendations from the Tax Working Group's final report are gathering dust, the government is picking up and running with one of them.

It is implementing recommendation 99, which will force all property buyers and sellers to hand over their tax information to authorities when they transfer ownership of land.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says the change is small, but it will help to lift the integrity of the tax system.

He says up to two thirds of property buyers and sellers already provide their IRD number on land transfer documents, but some loopholes exist.

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