Are cash and cheques holding your sports club back?

We know that most Kiwi sports clubs are community run. So, it might seem overkill to think about whether or not to invest in smart new technology for something basic that you’ve been doing for years – collecting payments.

But, the reality is that because most sports clubs are small, volunteer-run organisations, the old ways of getting paid (cash and cheques) could be making life so much more difficult than is worth it.

Here’s why.

Why old payment systems could be holding your club back

We’ll explain in detail below, but to summarise: cash and cheque based payments slow everything down, and they’re a lot harder to keep track of. This can lead to a greater chance of error, and harder-to-access cash flow for the club.

If you need to buy new equipment, upgrade facilities, or pay for transport and accommodation expenses for your team to go away, being unable to access your cash could mean you have to wait.

But let’s dig into it.

5 reasons to evolve from a cash and cheque system

1. It’s slow

Like we said, cash and cheques are slow.  As soon as you’ve got any manual process in finance, it becomes tedious. Aside from manually gathering the money in dribs and drabs, getting it to the bank and then waiting for the bank to process it all takes time.

Maybe this is acceptable at certain times of year, or for very small clubs, but there will usually come a time – especially if you’re growing – where this tied-up cash flow is a problem, and in those situations you need to move beyond cash.

We’ll talk more about how to do so later in the article.

2. It’s prone to error

The other side of a highly manual finance system is it’s very error prone. Even big companies with huge accounting teams who’ve been doing it for decades can get it wrong.

The reality is, the more work that a human has to do, the more chance there is of an error. A decimal in the wrong place, a misplaced cash payment meaning the books don’t balance – any number of things can go wrong, totally and innocently by accident.

If you’re ever audited, or you just want to track the club’s cash flow, it’s going to be much more difficult.

3. It’s harder to reconcile

To keep those books balanced, you need to be able to reconcile cash flow with things like fees due, or products purchased (such as players buying their kits).

Here again we see the chance of error coming back in, or just the pain of having to do this all manually.

Later we’re going to talk about cashless, digital payment options. These will automate a lot of this process for you – so stay tuned.

4. It’s not as secure

How often in your life have you or anyone you know misplaced something, never for it to be seen again?

This risk is always present if you’re being paid in cash or cheques. Even with the best treasurer on the planet, someone at some point could simply lose the money, or perhaps there’s a break-in and it gets stolen.

That’s a big risk for a small club, but it’s easily avoided!

  1. Cheques are, quite simply, out of date

Unfortunately, while we know there’s a few Kiwis out there who still like to pay with cheque, it’s out of date now as an option.

Most financial service providers in New Zealand have phased out or started phasing out cheques. Even the banks won’t accept them like they used to.

If you’re lucky and your local bank still takes cheques, chances are they won’t for long. It’s sad to see them go, but that is the reality of modern life. It’s always moving forwards.

So what’s the alternative? Going cashless

Cashless payment options are a lot easier to offer than you might think. In fact, there are tons of tools out there on the NZ market that are easy to implement even on a very simple website, and some have very low fees – making it a piece of cake to get set up without blowing the entire budget.

But what are the options? Let’s take a look at a few.

4 types of online payments a sports club could offer

1. Direct online bank transfers

Most Kiwis have an online banking account these days. If you can give your members the details of your club’s bank account, they could transfer their fees or payments right from their account to yours.

  • Pros: On the plus side, this is fast and doesn’t involve any cash handling. In addition, if the payment goes right into your account, it also means there’s no chance of the money being stolen and your bank account should match your books. Direct debits can also be established for recurring payments, like membership fees.
  • Cons: This is quite a manual process, and puts a lot of the onus on the payee which could mean it gets dropped in the too-hard basket and you have to chase it up. Not only that, it’s still error-prone because club members will need to input the right dollar figures and reference information each time they want to pay you.

2. Online debit/credit card payments

89% of Kiwis like to pay with a debit or EFTPOS card, and 68% use a credit card (Payments NZ Consumer Study 2020).

These are generally very quick, most Kiwis are used to using them online, and there’s tons of payment systems already on the market that you can set up in order to receive this payment type – meaning the technology side of implementing this option is not so complex.

  • Pros: On the plus side, Kiwis already know this option and use it.
  • Cons: On the cons side there are transaction fees to consider. Credit cards especially can have quite steep fees, and even though lots of Kiwis use plastic – not all of them do. In fact, 49% of young NZers have never even owned a credit card (Laybuy).

3. Direct online payments

Next there are direct online payment tools like POLi or Account2Account. Platforms like ours let Kiwis pay you directly with their online banking account through a secure portal.

So, rather than inputting dollar figures/reference information manually, and setting up a payment in their banking app, all of this is automated through the portal. It’s generally as easy as hitting a ‘Pay Now’ button and typing in login details.

  • Pros: Direct online payments are extremely fast and streamline back office bookkeeping because they automate reference information (less chance of error). They’re not unfamiliar, either, as a third of Kiwis are already using tools like POLi (NZ Payments survey), and some of the country’s biggest brands have implemented it – like Air NZ, The Warehouse and Waka Kotahi (NZTA).
  • Cons: You’ll need to set it up to make sure you can use it correctly. While this can be quite fast (within minutes in some cases), it still involves a little bit of technical work. That said, there are software tools out there that already have POLi built in – see below.

4. Payment apps like PayPal

Finally there are payment apps, like PayPal. PayPal is an app that basically acts as a payment transfer tool – members would load money into their PayPal account and pay it to yours, then you’d transfer the cash out into your bank account. PayPal can also be set up to receive credit card payments.

  • Pros: PayPal is a well-known brand and is very fast to set up. Payment transfers from one account to another are instant, and it’s extremely popular around the globe.
  • Cons: While account to account transfers are quick, it can take a few days for money to transfer from PayPal to your own bank account. Plus there are fees to consider.

Learn more: Our explanation of PayPal

So which online payment option is best for a Kiwi sports club?

We’d love to sit here and say that POLi is the best tool and the only one you’ll need, but we’d be over simplifying.

The thing is, Kiwis tend to want choice. Paying by plastic is popular, but not everyone wants to use a card. Paying with POLi is fast and we offer some of the lowest fees on the market, but not everyone will enjoy paying this way and may prefer something else.

So, the short answer? Try to offer more than one. Compare the fees, or perhaps talk to your members to see what they like. Then establish the ones that are best for your club, whether it’s just a couple or the entire range.

Software to look into to access online payments


Xero is one of the largest accounting platforms on the market, built right here in NZ. It basically collects all financial information into one place – incoming or outgoing payments, invoices, contacts, bank account details, you name it.

You can integrate a variety of payment options into the platform, like POLi, meaning Xero will automatically update whenever you’re paid. This can make reconciling the books almost entirely automated.


Sporty is a digital platform that helps organisations like clubs and schools with their website, enrolments, registrations and renewals, and it can also power newsletters, give you a mobile app, do prize draws and sort out payments.

This is a platform designed for clubs, which also integrates with popular payment options to make getting implemented very fast.

Hello Club

This is another purpose-built tool for NZ clubs. It can handle memberships and renewals as well as classes, events, coupons/discounts and online payments.

Like Sporty and Xero, it has a number of prebuilt integrations for common online payment options – POLi included.