21 June 2021
In what was and will be one of the biggest changes in banking for many years, all New Zealand’s major banks have stopped issuing cheque books and will stop accepting cheques throughout the 2021 year. And, in a shake-up for farmers, Cash Manager Rural will no longer be available by the end of 2021 with users being moved to a cloud-based solution, Cash Manager Focus.
The transition to digital solutions in finance is well and truly upon us and the days of the trusted cheque book are over. With the deadline on banks accepting cheques fast approaching, and digital adoption no longer a preference, here are some alternative ways to bank and manage your farm finances.
Internet banking is fast, simple and secure and is becoming more widely available as broadband coverage improves across the country. According to banks, over 75% of banking customers are now active online and for every over the counter transaction there are now 100 online transactions.
Internet banking can be accessed from your computer or a mobile phone app. It provides a range of everyday services including checking account balances, paying bills, setting up transfers and automatic payments and even adjusting mortgage repayments.
Business internet banking systems will allow you to make multiple payments on one batch, which is useful if you pay all your monthly bills on the same day as you can do one authorisation to pay all your bills.
Accessible from both land line and mobile, phone banking is a good alternative for rural customers who don’t have great internet access. Once you are registered, customers can use the service any time and as often as they like. Telephone banking also gives you the option to speak to a call centre staff member if you require help during the call centre opening hours.
Direct debits and credit cards
Other ways to streamline your banking include direct debits and business credit cards. A direct debit is an automatic transaction that transfers money from your account to another. It can be useful for regular payments you make on a recurring basis as you don't have to remember to pay the bill, and you don't risk any late fees. Direct debits can be cancelled at any time through internet banking or speaking to a customer service representative. Another option that might be worth considering is a business credit card. This could help you consolidate all your payments to one account and make one monthly payment.
Cash Manager Focus
By the end of 2021, farmers will need to move from Cash Manager Rural to Cash Manager Focus, which is the cloud-based version of the software.
Migration to the new software is a simple process you can do yourself. There are three main steps:
- Get your Cash Manager Rural files ready by reconciling and spring cleaning.
- Set up your Cash Manager Focus login.
- Begin migration.
A standard Cash Manager Focus subscription is the same price as it is for Cash Manager Rural. And being a cloud-based product, means you can access the latest data anytime, anywhere and on any device.
 Ag Letter from Baker Ag, 1 May 2021