ATM num­bers tap out

Banks get­ting rid of ma­chines and branches

Herald Sun - - NEWS - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH so­phie.elsworth@news.com.au @so­phieelsworth

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.”

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