Looking to get cash out? Over 1000 ATMs cut across Australia

Looking to get cash out? Over 1000 ATMs cut across Australia

With the growing interest in online banking services, particularly in a post-Banking Royal Commission Australia, it may not be surprising to learn that the number of ATMs and branches is shrinking.

There are almost 10 per cent fewer ATMs in major cities across Australia in the 12 months to June 2019, according to research from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). That’s 1,079 fewer ATMs in Australia now than a year ago.

The biggest percentage drops were in South Australia (-10.6 per cent), followed by Western Australia (-9.9 per cent).

Further, bank branches have also shrunk nationally by 5.3 per cent in the same time frame. There are nearly 300 fewer branches now than a year ago – the majority of which have left the major cities.

Which customers are missing out?

Westpac customers saw the biggest decrease in ATMs, according to APRA data. This was followed by Commonwealth Bank and Cuscal Limited (which partner with institutions Bank Australia and AMP).

The big four banks topped the list of institutions which shut down the greatest number of branches. Commonwealth Bank came out on top, with 67 branches closed across Australia. This was followed by Westpac (59), ANZ (53) and NAB (32).

Biggest drops in ATMs – June 2018-2019 

Institution Name

Difference 2018-2019





Cuscal Limited




Bendigo and Adelaide




Source: APRA ADI points of presence database, June 2019

Biggest drops in branches – June 2018-2019

Institution Name

Difference 2018-2019









Source: APRA ADI points of presence database, June 2019

The rise of digital banking

If you prefer face-to-face customer service, don’t despair. There are still 83 banks in the RateCity database who have branches, versus 7 which are online only.

But digital banking is nothing to be sniffed at.

Online institutions in Australia include big names like ING and UBank. Neobanks have also entered the space. Including, Up, Xinja and 86 400.

Online institutions differ to traditional banks in a few ways, but are still licensed to take deposits and are backed by government guarantees. Their appeal lies in the convenience of easy-to-use online banking.

Neobanks, for example, claim their advantage is they have no legacy technology, and can provide faster, smarter and more streamlined banking. In a recent interview with The Australian, neobank 86 400’s CEO, Rob Bell, claimed their customers can “join in under 120 seconds”, and users can control all their bank accounts through their app.

“If you look at what problem we’re trying to solve, you might say that’s trust for example, but it runs much deeper than that,” said Mr Bell.

“All the research we’ve done says money has become difficult to manage and people don’t feel in control anymore. We want to have all your accounts in one place, and proactively help Australians make smarter decisions.”

Will they be a threat to the big four banks? Time will tell. But if the closure of ATMs and branches is any indication, there’s a growing shift away from brick and mortar banking.  

There are some competitive ongoing savings account rates on offer from these online platforms above 2 per cent. According to RateCity figures, the current average ongoing max savings rate is 0.97 per cent.  

Highest conditional savings rates from online providers



Max Rate

Base Rate


86 400

Save Account



Deposit $1000+ each month. Available on balances up to $100k





Available on balances up to $50k. Make 5 or more successful card purchases per month from your Everyday Account


USaver with Ultra



Link Usaver to Ultra Transaction Account, deposit at least $200 per month and maintain a total balance of no more than $200k

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Learn more about savings accounts

What are the two types of NAB locked savings accounts?

With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

Meanwhile, the NAB iSaver account provides 0.05 per cent as the standard base interest rate and a fixed bonus margin of 0.55 per cent during the first four months from the date of opening the account. You can park your cash in the account and enjoy unlimited monthly transfers between linked daily bank accounts without impacting the interest rate.

What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.