Geek’s Blog

Online Banking Safety | Cheque Free 2021

ANZ cheque removal potentially opens doors for targeted scams

Hey, Geek Fans! As ANZ makes the switch to a cheque-free world, you should make the switch to safer online banking. This blog explains how the move might create opportunities for scammers to target vulnerable people. Keep reading to get clued up and stay safe!

New Zealand’s largest bank, ANZ, will soon accept its final cheque. The company is removing cheques from its systems after 31 May 2021.

ANZ stopped issuing new cheque books in December 2020, and customers will no longer be able to make deposits into ANZ accounts from 1 June 2021. Nor will they be able to use ANZ cheques to make payments into other accounts.

ANZ cheque removals: The reason behind the change and what it means for you

Humans have used cheques for centuries. Their popularity was at its peak in the 1990s when banks issued billions of cheques each year. Since then, cheques have declined rapidly, halving in usage between 2004 and 2010 in New Zealand alone.

ANZ has made the move to phase out cheques in part due to the changing habits of customers. Additionally, alternative options provide a faster and more secure way of moving money.

This means that you will no longer be able to make deposits using ANZ cheques, or make payments with ANZ cheques after 31 May. If you receive any cheques before that time, you will need to deposit it before June. However, ANZ will still accept deposits of some foreign cheques for the time being.

ANZ is not alone in this move. Kiwibank has already stopped using cheques in February, and BNZ will be removing cheques in July this year.

How removing cheques may open doors for scammers

Less than 1 percent of ANZ customers still use cheques regularly, according to a bank spokesperson. So while many customers won’t be affected by this change, those who are affected are overwhelmingly from the senior age group.

This group must make the change from a system they know to something very new. This may create vulnerabilities, which is exactly what scammers will target.

There could be an influx of fake emails, text messages, and calls phishing for vulnerable and confused banking customers. It’s hard to know exactly how scammers will make the most of the changes. However, we can offer our advice and assistance in helping Kiwis stay safe as they adopt online banking.

How to stay safe as you make the move away from cheques

There are a number of key pointers to keep in mind as you stay safe online. This is just as true for the younger generation as it is for seniors. Plus, it always pays to be extra careful when it comes to banking.

Use these tips to help stay safe when banking online:

  • Keep your software up to date on your phone, laptop, and other devices
  • Only log in on a secure private network (never on public wifi)
  • Be extremely wary of links and attachments in emails and texts
  • Always double-check the sender address on emails
  • Use maximum security and privacy settings on social media accounts, and avoid posting anything personal (cute dog pics are highly encouraged though)
  • If in doubt about an email, call, text, or even a letter, visit your bank to ask for clarification
  • Use a pin number to lock your phone and laptop when you are not using them

You can also make the most of our free clinics. Come along to our Free Help Fridays in Ashburton, or our Free Help Wednesdays in Palmerston North. We offer advice on everything from online banking security to backing up your devices, file recovery, and more. Bring along friends or seniors in your life who might need a friendly introduction or refresher on these topics.

And don’t forget, our Geek+ Premium Package provides unlimited, year-round advice and assistance, including antivirus protection, a password manager, a comprehensive health check for all your devices, and more. Invest in this package for extra peace of mind in all things technology and security.