From Monday 24 May 2021, Ōpōtiki District Council will no longer accept cheques as payment for any of its services. But there are still many payment options available.

All major banks within New Zealand are removing the use of cheques as a payment option, including the Council’s bank ANZ.

Greg Robertson, Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Financial Officer, said the number of customers using cheques had been declining for a number of years but Council still gets around 40 cheques a month. He acknowledged that moving away from cheques would be a challenge for some residents, but wanted to reassure the community that Council would work to make the alternatives as easy as possible.

“We chose Friday 21 May as the final day to accept cheques as that is the last day to pay the current rates instalment. That means that most people who pay on time will now have three months to ensure they have a workable system for payments in time for the next rates instalment.

“I really encourage direct debits if that is an option for you or your trust or organisation. We also have an easy-to-use online services so you can pay with debit or credit cards through that or via internet banking, or even EFTPOS at our reception,” Mr Robertson said.

New Zealand banks have been phasing out cheques for some time. By August 2021, no major banks in New Zealand will be issuing or accepting cheques.

Mr Robertson said that there is support available to ensure that the transition to online banking wasn’t too intimidating.

“The great team down at the Digital Hub can help people who may be ‘technology hesitant’ or just need a brush up on their digital skills. Some banks are also being quite proactive in this space and are offering help or advice,” Mr Robertson said.