One of Australia’s biggest banks has confirmed that some of its branches will no longer allow customers to withdraw money over the counter. ANZ bank is stripping back some of its services, with certain branches no longer carrying physical cash.
Instead, customers will be directed to ATMs if they wish to withdraw money – even though these machines are also being cut down across the country. ANZ said that only eight percent of its customers rely on banks for their money as more and more Australians switch to internet banking.
However, critics have warned that this could cause significant harm to older people and those with disabilities who still rely on physical cash. According to the Daily Mail, The number of bank branches in Australia has fallen by about 30 percent in the last five years, a trend that has been mirrored across the world.
And ATMs have decreased even more, with figures showing that they have fallen from a high of 14,000 in 2017 to around 6,000 as of last year. On Wednesday, it was revealed that cash transactions are dying in Australia with just 13 percent of purchases now using banknotes or coins.
Tap-and-go cards, mobile payments, and direct online transfers make up the rest of all transactions, with the share of cash purchases halving in just three years. The Reserve Bank estimated just 13 percent of transactions in late 2022 were in cash, a halving in just three years since the start of the pandemic.
Contactless tap-and-go payments, where a customer used their mobile smartphone, made up a third of transactions, with younger consumers more likely to pay this way.
Cyber security expert Ben Britton, who works as a chief information security officer, said a cyber attack could stop the major banks from conducting electronic transactions linked to their EFTPOS terminals.
‘That entire system is dependent on an internet connection to work so if there’s any interruption in the internet connection, then people will not be able to make any payment,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.