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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

Westpac

-442

CBA

-231

Cuscal Limited

-134

NAB

-108

Bendigo and Adelaide

-79

ANZ

-31

Source: APRA ADI points of presence database, June 2019

Biggest drops in branches – June 2018-2019

Institution Name

Difference 2018-2019

CBA

-67

Westpac

-59

ANZ

-53

NAB

-32

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

Company

Product

Max Rate

Base Rate

Condition

86 400

Save Account

2.25%

0.40%

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

Up

Saver

2.25%

0.50%

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

Ubank

USaver with Ultra

2.10%

1.04%

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

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