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.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this news?

Advertisement

RateCity

The money talks which you don't need to avoid any more

Subscribe to our newsletter so we can send you awesome offers and discounts

Advertisement

Learn more about bank accounts

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

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

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.

Opening a bank account for someone under 18

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.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

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.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

How do I overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?

Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.

To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.

A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.

Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.

To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

How do you change your account name on NAB banking?

Changing the name on your NAB bank account is straightforward, as long as you have the right documents.

If you’ve just got married, divorced or legally changed your name, here’s what you need:

  • Married – a marriage certificate
  • Divorced –your ‘decree nisi’
  • Legal name change –your legal name change certificate

You can take either the original document, or a certified copy, into a NAB branch, where it needs to be sighted by a bank employee and a copy taken.

Your NAB bank account name will be updated immediately. New debit, ATM and credit cards with your updated name will also need to be issued. These usually take between five to 10 working days to be posted out to you. Your existing cards will keep working until you activate your new ones.

If you haven’t legally changed your name, but just want to change your account nicknames, you can log onto NAB and do it through the Settings/Mailbox menu.