Australia could soon become a cashless society with a staggering number of bank branches closing in just a year – as hundreds of ATMs are also removed.
In the year to June, 424 bank branches closed, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority revealed on Wednesday.
The number of branches has plunged by more than a third or 37 per cent since June 2017.
The banking regulator’s figures also revealed the mass scrapping of automatic teller machines, with the number plummeting by 60 per cent in just six years.
During the past year alone, 718 ATMs were removed, with less than one in six transactions at the shop now done in cash.
Australia could soon become a cashless society with a staggering number of bank branches closing in just a year – as hundreds of ATMs were also removed (pictured is a digital tap-and-go reader)
Finance expert Sarah Wells previously Daily Mail Australia the country could become cashless in as little as three years
Remote parts of Australia also saw a big decline in the number of bank branches, with 124 closed in six years.
Since 2017, 1,600 bank branches have closed across Australia.
The latest findings illustrate Australia’s rapid transition to a cashless society since the onset of the Covid pandemic, with cash making up just 16 per cent of in-person transactions in 2022, a halving in just three years, Reserve Bank data showed.
Finance expert Sarah Wells has told Daily Mail Australia the country could become cashless in as little as three years.
She feared those in regional areas, the elderly, and even children would lose out.
‘I believe it is better for children to use cash,’ Ms Wells said.
‘Giving a child $20 and taking them to a shopping centre, or the movies helps them to learn to budget and helps them to make decisions by thinking more carefully.
‘There’s a responsibility in handing over money and such valuable social interaction, they learn to say “please” and “thank you” and look people in the eye.’
The Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB have all opened cashless branches where customers are directed to ATMs for ‘everyday banking’.
Westpac has embarked on a ‘co-locating’ strategy involving the closure of subsidiary St George branches and moving them inside a Westpac bank.
The Reserve Bank, which regulates Australia’s payments system, is worried about cybersecurity.
‘Privacy and security concerns with electronic payment methods continued to be the main reason for needing cash,’ it noted in a June bulletin.
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn this year told a Senate inquiry it cost CBA $400million to make cash available for its customers.
The inquiry was told more than 90 per cent of customers of the Big Four banks did their transactions digitally or online.
‘We need to stop thinking about ourselves so much and our own convenience and start thinking a bit more about others,’ Ms Wells said.
During the past year alone, 718 ATMs were removed, with less than one in five transactions at the shop now done in cash (pictured are Commonwealth Bank teller machines in Sydney)
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk