ATM numbers tap out
Banks getting rid of machines and branches
ATMs and bank branches are rapidly disappearing across the country since the dumping of withdrawal fees by the big four banks and as more customers use “tap and go” technology.
Exclusive new figures show machine numbers have dropped by nearly 450 nationally since the banning of ATM fees in September, while bank branches are also declining.
The big four banks all ditched foreign ATM fees of at least $2 per customer to withdraw cash from a machine not in their own bank’s network.
In the past year, Westpac has removed 200 machines, ANZ 130 and National Australia Bank 115, while CBA has added two machines.
Banks also made it harder for customers wanting face-toface contact with a banker.
Branches have diminished in the past year — ANZ has removed 46 branches, NAB 36, Westpac 34 and CBA nine — a total of 125 closures.
Financial comparison website Mozo’s spokeswoman Kirsty Lamont said ATMs were not the cash cows they once were for banks and customers were increasingly using “tap and go” technology ahead of cash.
“The scrapping of ATM charges last year, the fees charged by banks when the customer of another bank uses their ATM, means ATMs are no longer as lucrative as they once were,’’ she said.
“With operating costs eating into the bank’s bottom line, we expect even more ATMs to fall by the wayside over the next year or the introduction of a merged ATM system shared between banks.”
Latest statistics from the Australian Payments Network shows the number of ATM withdrawals in the past five years has fallen by 25 per cent, and so, too, has the amount of cash being withdrawn by customers.
In the past five years this has fallen by 12 per cent or a total of $17.5 billion.
The Australian Banking Association’s chief economist Tony Pearson said “cash is no longer king” and more people were doing away with the need to use it.
“Today, Australians are able to pay for goods and services at the swipe of a card, smartphone or even their watch,’’ he said.
“As a result of this shift, there has been a reduction in customer’s reliance on more traditional banking channels such as branches and ATMs.”