They were locked up, locked down, and generally put away, but now the credit cards are finding their way out again.
But spending has not quite bounced back to the levels seen a year ago.
Latest RBNZ figures for both monthly credit card spending and figures for the total amounts outstanding show the rise in spending that was seen in May after we emerged from Level 4 lockdown continued into June. From June 9 we were at Level 1 meaning business was back to near normal, although of course with the notable absenced of travel/tourism.
During the lockdown month of April, the credit card spending and amounts outstanding plunged in spectacular fashion.
Total monthly credit card billings in New Zealand during April fell a whopping 41.3% to $2.1 billion (seasonally adjusted). It was the largest monthly fall on record and took billings back to levels last seen in 2006.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, total advances outstanding fell a staggering 14% to $5.9 billion - the first time the amounts outstanding at month's end had dipped under $6 billion since 2013..
The latest figures for June 2020, while rising, continue to show the hole in monthly spending left by the absence of tourists here.
However, the spending by Kiwis on domestically issued cards last month almost got back to the same level seen a year ago.
The RBNZ issued the following highlighted figures - note that these are all seasonally-adjusted:
Total monthly credit card billings in New Zealand rose 14% to $3.8 billion from May to June, but this is still 9% lower than June 2019.
Billings in New Zealand on domestically-issued cards increased 15% to $3.5 billion which is a similar level of spending to a year ago, just 3% lower than June 2019.
Total advances outstanding rose 2.5% from the month before to $6.4 billion, but this is still 14% lower than June 2019.
Billings in New Zealand on overseas-issued cards increased 9% to $0.32 billion compared with May 2020, but this is still 46% lower than June 2019 reflecting the closure of our borders to tourists.
Overseas billings on New Zealand-issued credit cards decreased 3% to $0.23 billion, and this is still 59% lower than June 2019.
The weighted average interest rate on interest bearing advances fell from 17.3% to 16.7%, reflecting a lower proportion of interest bearing debt.
Credit limit utilisation rate rose from 26.1% to 27.4%.