Australia’s fifth-largest bank has announced it will scrap cash transactions in all its branches, outraging customers and consumer advocates. Macquarie Bank will begin phasing out all cash, cheque and phone payment services in its Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane branches from January as moves to digital-only transactions. It will have ceased all in-branch cash transactions by next November.
‘Between January 2024 and November 2024, we’ll be phasing out our cash and cheque services across all Macquarie banking and wealth management products, including pension and super accounts,’ the bank said in a statement.
Finance expert Sarah Wells told Daily Mail Australia that Macquarie’s move ‘is the next step [towards] a cashless society.’ ‘My biggest concern is when one starts the rest will follow,’ she said. Earlier this year ANZ and Commonwealth Bank to stop handling cash in a handful branches but no bank had taken the step across all its branches.
‘The next [step] may be cash rationing at ATMS which for some won’t be an issue but for others it will be, especially as brick and mortar banks look to serve their customers over the needs of those that use their ATMs,’ Ms Wells told Daily Mail Australia.
Macquarie bank has 1.7 million ‘clients’. Those customers wanting cash will still be able to withdraw it from ATM machines. The biggest change for its traditional banking customers will happen in May 2024.
That’s when it will cease handling cash and cheque deposits and withdrawals over the counter. Macquarie has 80 offices across its network but only three physical branches, although its customers currently use NAB’s much larger network of branches.
The bank’s customers will lose the ability to deposit and withdraw cash from Macquarie accounts via NAB, which they can currently do, by November next year. Ms. Wells said this is a move Macquarie ‘may wish to reconsider’.
‘For some businesses this may cause them to need to change banks,’ she said. By November 2024 all cheque transactions will end with Macquarie, including use of bank cheques.