Tap turns off ATM, branches cash flow

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

ATMs and bank branches are rapidly dis­ap­pear­ing since ATM charges ended and as more peo­ple use “tap and go”.

Ex­clu­sive fig­ures show ATM num­bers have dropped by nearly 450 na­tion­ally since withdrawal fees were dumped in Septem­ber. The big four banks all ditched the for­eign ATM fees, which slugged cus­tomers up to $2 to with­draw cash from a ma­chine out­side their bank’s net­work.

In the past year West­pac has re­moved 200 ma­chines, ANZ 130 and NAB 115, while CBA has added two ma­chines.

Bank branches have also closed over the past 12 months.

ANZ shut 46 branches, NAB 36, West­pac 34 and CBA nine — a to­tal of 125 clo­sures.

Fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son web­site Mozo said ATMs were no longer the cash cows they once were for banks, while more cus­tomers were pay­ing us­ing “tap and go” tech­nol­ogy rather than cash.

“The scrap­ping of ATM charges last year ... means ATMs are no longer as lu­cra­tive as they once were,’’ Mozo spokes­woman Kirsty La­mont 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.”

Aus­tralian Pay­ments Net­work data shows the num­ber of ATM with­drawals fell 25 per cent in the past five years, while the amount of cash with­drawn dropped by 12 per cent or $17.5 bil­lion.

Aus­tralian Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion chief econ­o­mist Tony Pear­son said “cash was no longer king”.

“To­day Aus­tralians are able to pay for goods and ser­vices at the swipe of a card, smart phone or even their watch,’’ Mr Pear­son said.

“As a re­sult of this shift there has been a re­duc­tion in cus­tomer re­liance on more tra­di­tional bank­ing chan­nels such as branches and ATMs.”

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