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Kiwi Credit Card Spending Increases After Dropping to a 7-year Low

The latest statistics from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (released yesterday 24th June 2020) show that credit card spending is picking up after dipping in April, with the cause of the drop likely a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In light of this we have some stats and commentary that might be of interest to you.


  • Credit card spending is beginning to pick back up after dropping to a 7-year low in April according to Finder, a credit card comparison site which recently launched in New Zealand.
  • New Reserve Bank figures show that total monthly credit card billings in New Zealand rose by 54% to $3.2 billion between April and May.
  • This comes after monthly credit card billings fell by 41.3% to $2.1 billion in April – the largest monthly drop on record.
  • The nation’s credit card debt also increased from $5.7 to $6 billion in May. Aside from last month, New Zealand’s card debt hasn’t dipped below $6 billion since 2013.
  • Despite the uptick in credit card spending, monthly billings are still 21% lower than in May 2019.
  • A recent Finder survey of 2,203 respondents revealed that 17% of Kiwis couldn’t manage their budget or finances without a credit card.
  • This figure is a lot lower than Australia, where almost one in three (29%) people rely on plastic to manage their money.
  • The Finder research also revealed that Gen X are the most reliant on plastic, with one in five (20%) relying on a credit card to get by.
  • By region, Auckland residents are the most likely to manage their daily expenses with a credit card (21%), followed by Otago and Hawkes Bay (both 19%).
  • Men (19%) are more likely to rely on a credit card than women (16%).
  • For more research please head to Finder’s Credit Card Statistics page.


  • Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand said that it’s good to see that New Zealand’s economy is moving again.
  • “After the onslaught of COVID-19, it’s a relief to see that things are gradually returning to normal, including our spending levels.
  • “With restaurants, pubs and shopping precincts now open, many people are opening their wallets after months of going without.
  • “We’re starting to see steady economic improvement as restrictions ease, which is essential after our catastrophic quarter,” he said.
  • “It’s great to get out and about after months of being cooped up at home, and consumer spending is more important than ever to the NZ economy.”
  • “But Kiwis were able to lower their credit card spending throughout the lockdown, which shows that it’s possible to cut back on credit and unmanageable debt.
  • “Those who prefer to use credit should ensure they’re using a card that works for them.

“Whether you want to prioritise reward points, low fees or the ability to do a balance transfer, you can check out the most common credit cards at Finder,” he said.

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