Changes are needed so the cash system can serve the needs of New Zealanders, says the Reserve Bank - Te Pūtea Matua.
The central bank's 2021 cash survey found nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders were using cash to pay for everyday things, compared with nearly everyone in 2017 and 2019.
"While the proportion of New Zealanders who appear to rely on cash remains steady at 6 percent, over the last six years there's been a significant drop in those of us who sometimes pay with cash, from 96 to 63 percent of those surveyed," RBNZ head of money and cash Ian Woolford said.
"As in previous years, these people are more likely to be older, poorer, living rurally, or Māori."
He said people still store cash during times of uncertainty, with the percentage rising to 46 percent last year from 37 percent in 2017.
"Our latest survey suggests cash users are finding it more difficult to find places to deposit cash, while ATMs and supermarkets are the main source of withdrawals," Woolford said, noting the number of ATMs had fallen, making it more difficult for some people to access cash.
The central bank was encouraging people to provide feedback on its proposals to improve the cash system and support cash use and acceptance.
A consultation paper was published last November and closes for submissions next Monday.