Press Release

For immediate release

2 million Kiwis crack down on their credit card spending

        • 2% of Kiwis have put their card in the freezer in a block of ice so they can’t use it
        • Millennials are the most likely to be reining in their credit card spending
        • How to reduce your credit card debt

1 February 2022, Auckland, New Zealand – Kiwis are taking serious action to manage their credit card spending, according to new research by financial comparison site Finder.

The nationally representative survey of 1,507 respondents revealed more than half of Kiwis (55%) – equivalent to just over 2 million people – are taking steps to curb their credit card use.

More than 1 in 5 (21%) have set a spending limit on their card, while 1 in 10 (10%) keep their credit card out of sight to avoid temptation.

Other creative ways people are limiting the urge to splurge include unlinking their credit card from their phone (5%) and cutting up their card (5%), while 2% even admit to putting their card in the freezer in a block of ice.

Angus Kidman, Finder’s editor-at-large in New Zealand, said some of these drastic measures may be amusing, but there are more effective ways to manage your budget.

“Hiding your credit card or even freezing it is a bit like chucking out all the treats in your house when you start a diet. It’s a short-term fix, but you’re still going to be tempted to buy more when you go to the shops.

“Try instead to take a long-term approach by thinking about how your credit card spending fits into your financial goals.

“If you find yourself impulsively reaching for the plastic whenever you’re at the shops, it’s time to start a budget.”

Kidman encouraged Kiwis to consider the 50/30/20 rule with their money.

“This is where 50% of your income goes towards crucial bills such as rent and groceries, 30% is for ‘fun’ like new clothes and eating out, and the remaining 20% goes straight into your savings account.

“You can also ask your bank to lower your credit limit. This removes the temptation to spend more than you can pay back at the end of the month.

“Switching to a low-interest credit card is a clever move for those months where you might otherwise struggle to pay everything off.

“Remember, credit cards can actually save you money by giving you points towards flights and groceries – as long as you pay off your balance at the end of every month.”

As of October 2021, there was $2.9 billion in outstanding interest-bearing debt across the country – a 12% drop on the previous year.

Finder’s research found 27% of Kiwis are not doing anything to manage their credit card spending, while a further 27% don’t have a credit card.

Millennials (74%) are the most likely to be cracking down on their credit card spending, compared to 43% of generation X.

What are you doing to manage your credit card spending?*
Set spending limits on my card21%
Keep my card out of sight10%
Set alerts if my payment due date is approaching8%
Set alerts if I approach my credit limit7%
Unlink my card from my phone5%
Cut up my card5%
Other7%
Put my card in the freezer in a block of ice2%
I’m not doing anything to manage my spending27%
I don’t have a credit card27%
Source: Finder survey of 1,507 respondents, October 2021
*Respondents could select all that apply, except for ‘I’m not doing anything to manage my spending’ and ‘I don’t have a credit card’

How to reduce your credit card debt:

  • Take aim at the cards with the higher rates first. The card with the highest interest rate will often cost you the most in the long run, so try to smash the debt on it first. Make sure you are still paying the minimum on any and all cards to protect your credit score and keep you from being charged additional fees.
  • Put your card use on a timeout. Transition away from using credit for purchases (including buy now pay later schemes) and use your cash or debit card. This will help you pay down your debt faster.
  • Stay on top of your budget. Once you know how much is going in and how much you can afford to spend, you will be happier and more at peace.

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com's review pages for the current correct values.

About Finder

Finder is a global comparison site, now available in New Zealand. Each month, 90,000 consumers turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. In New Zealand we compare credit cards, mortgages, travel insurance, shopping deals and more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has continued to expand and launch around the globe, with offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit https://www.finder.com/nz.

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