Banks are reducing the number of ATMs

“This shift away from cash has accelerated during the pandemic and is reflected in the sharp fall in the value of ATM withdrawals,” he said.

The number of branches has also fallen. ANZ, CBA and Westpac each closed between 181 and 186 stores in the five years to 2020. NAB closed 42.

A spokesman for NAB said the number of ATM transactions had fallen by 45 percent and cash withdrawals by 47 percent since 2018.

“NAB customers can withdraw cash fee-free from more than 6,000 ATMs across Australia,” he said. “When we remove an ATM, we ensure that a Bank@Post service is always available to withdraw and deposit cash.”

Steve Worthington, a professor of marketing at Swinburne University, said people have been using less cash at the point of sale and withdrawing fewer from ATMs since the pandemic. Banks also closed branches and people did more online banking. Third parties had deployed more independent ATMs that charge fees to fill the gap in malls and other public areas, including clubs.

“Cash is still important to many people, especially in rural areas where people have limited or no internet access and there are older people and newcomers to Australia,” he said. “There are still many people who depend on cash.”


Some even hoarded cash to store wealth, for emergencies, or for nefarious purposes.

Many supermarkets now only have card tills. ANZ Bank and the fast food chain Fishbowl have branches that are completely cashless.

Australia’s first hole in the wall was installed in Brisbane in 1977. Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union ushered in a new era of banking convenience when it first gave its customers the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM at its Fortitude Valley headquarters. QTCU general manager Mike Murphy said installing the machine was a gamble for the credit union at the time, but it paid off.

ATMs were widely introduced in the 1980s and in 2015 there were more than 31,000 ATMs across the country, which according to the RBA was high compared to the Australian population. After peaking in 2009, withdrawals began to fall by about 20 percent over the next six years.

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Brian Lowry

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