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Branches and ATMs on the decline as Aussies move away from cash

Branches and ATMs on the decline as Aussies move away from cash

Access to face-to-face points of contact, such as bank branches and ATMs, fell in the last financial year, as COVID-19 strikes another nail in the coffin of cash.

The latest figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Points of Presence statistics for Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) found that there were 447 branches closed in the year to June 2021 (-9%).

ATMs are disappearing even faster, with 1,864 shut in the past 12 months (-19%) as more customers move away from cash. Other face-to-face access points, such as Australia Post financial services, fell 2% to 4334 year-on-year.

Big four bank, ANZ, ditched nearly half of its ATMs and closed 1 in 5 branches – the most of all the major ADIs.

Decline of big four bank ATMs in Australia

ATMsJun-21Jun-20YoYYoY (%)
CBA1,3751,832-457-25%
Westpac8951,150-255-22%
NAB630669-39-6%
ANZ9091,714-805-47%
Total7,7579,621-1,864-19%

Source: APRA.gov.au Points of Presence Statistics.

Decline of big four bank branches in Australia

BranchJun-21Jun-20YoYYoY (%)
CBA875966-91-9%
Westpac838917-79-9%
NAB582630-48-8%
ANZ447566-119-21%
Total 4,4914,938-447-9%

Source: APRA.gov.au Points of Presence Statistics.

Your alternatives to cash

For Aussies that rely on face-to-face customer service for their banking needs, such as the elderly, the decline of branches and ATMs and eventual decline of using cash may become increasingly challenging.

If you’re not the biggest fan of new technology, that’s understandable. It may be worth having a relative or friend sit with you and show you how to use services, like telephone banking or even just a mobile app, as cash-based services continue to decline.

It’s unheard of for a bank or savings account provider in Australia to not offer customers digital banking options, such as online and telephone banking, banking apps and digital wallet access.

Throughout the pandemic, services like tap-and-go payments with your mobile have been crucial in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Some providers may be slow to the uptake of the latest fintech, such as savings tools and reminders. In fact, 14% of bank account providers still haven’t made the shift to Apple Pay, one of the most popular contactless payment options.

As we continue to move away from face-to-face access points, it may be worth considering comparing your bank account options across the market.

Here are some competitive options that currently offer Apple Pay:

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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