Thousands of ATMs removed due to COVID-19 business closures

Thousands of ATMs removed due to COVID-19 business closures

People may have a harder time pulling out their money as closures brought about by the pandemic have led to thousands of ATM machines being decommissioned. 

Since the COVID-19 coronavirus shuttered businesses across the country in March, the number of ATM machines available to the public dropped by 2515, among the steepest of drops recorded by the Australian Payment Network (APN)

The drop in ATM machines coincides with a shift towards tap-and-go payments -- particularly during the pandemic -- where a contactless transaction is widely seen to hedge the risks associated with making in-person purchases. 

The Australian Payment Network confirmed tap-and-go payments of $200 could be made without a PIN being entered -- double the previous limit -- in April to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmissions.

ATM machine numbers have been on the decline following almost three decades of growing popularity. They’ve dropped from a high of 32,879 two years ago to 25,719 -- a fall of about 22 per cent.

Most of the ATMs shut down since March were primarily based in locations “that have been closed due to COVID-19, such as bars and clubs,” the APN said.

More people are going cashless

The drop in ATMs come as customers increasingly embrace cashless transactions, and after the big four banks’ abolition of withdrawal fees led to the industry consolidating them.

Advancing technologies have led to people paying for goods and services without relying on money, the Reserve Bank of Australia said.

“(There’s a) decline in the use of cash for consumer payments as many people now prefer to use electronic payment methods, such as cards, for even small purchases,” the central bank said in a bulletin published in March this year.
 
“The majority of in-person payments are now initiated by tapping a card with contactless functionality on a terminal, and consumers are also using mobile phones and other devices to make ‘tap and go’ payments more often than they were three years ago.”

Banks consolidate their ATM footprints 

Commonwealth Bank was first to announce it was scrapping ATM withdrawal fees across its network of 3200 machines in September 2017, setting a benchmark the remaining big three banks rushed to meet.

The very next month, the number of ATM machines in the wild began to drop, bucking a 28 year trend of growth, before leading to June’s 22 per cent drop.

There was no longer a financial incentive -- or a need, for that matter -- for a public space to host four ATM machines, when one that would not charge for withdrawals would do.

At the height of their popularity in 2016, ATMs generated an estimated $548 million in fees, RateCity found.

A big four bank sells its network of off-site ATMs

ANZ bank confirmed it is selling 1300 of its offsite ATMs to Armaguard group on Friday, making it the second major acquisition of an ATM network by Armaguard in little more than a year.

“The sale is another step in ANZ’s drive to simplify the business and its Australia Retail and Commercial operations in particular,” the bank said in a statement. 

The value of the agreement has not been disclosed.

Customers will still be able to use the ATMs at no cost -- even after they wear Armaguard’s United National Network branding. The 900 ATMs located at ANZ branches were not included under the deal.

The deal is the second major acquisition of an ATM network by Armaguard within the last couple of years, after it bought “hundreds” of RediATMs in February last year.

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Learn more about bank accounts

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The traditional way to deposit cash into your bank account is to go to a branch and give it to a teller. These days, many banks will allow you to make deposits through an ATM as well.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

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The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

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One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

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A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

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You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

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Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

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If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

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Online

Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

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How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

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