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ATMs set to be drained of money today to protest cashless trend

Aussies passionate about physical money are sending a message that it's here to stay.

Aussies fed up of the cashless trend taking over the country will use today to remind everyone that physical money is here to stay.

A protest called ‘Draw Out Some Cash Day’ has been organised for April 2 and people have been encouraged to head to an ATM and withdraw money.

Pro-cash advocate Jason Bryce told Yahoo Finance this will send a strong message if enough people jump on board the campaign.

Insert of wad of Australian $50 notes next to woman taking out cash from ATM
Aussies passionate about keeping cash in Australia will head to ATMs around the country today to withdraw money. (Source: Getty)

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“I don't know who started it, but I'm backing it 100 per cent and promoting the idea that Tuesday is cash-out day and, you know, use it or lose it,” he said. “Let's keep cash alive.


“It's like a vote. It's almost like we're voting to keep cash on Tuesday.”

The protest was founded on social media, with people posting similar messages about the need to drain ATMs of cash. There have also been posts from advocates in the UK and Europe calling for the same thing.

"If everyone did this it would draw thousands of $$$ out into the community and banks will be running around to refill ATMs,” said one post on social media. "We want this to go nationwide. Tell your friends. Never let cash vanish."

The collective action comes as banks are reducing their physical presence in Australia. Hundreds of branches have been shut down in recent years as financial institutions grapple with Aussies doing the majority of their banking and payment needs online.

The number of people using cash has also declined massively.


The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) revealed last year that 72 per cent of Aussies were classed as low-cash users in 2022, meaning they used physical money for 20 per cent or less of their transactions. Back in 2019, low-cash users made up only 50 per cent of people in the country.

Conversely, only 7 per cent of the population are classed as high-cash users, who use physical money for 80 per cent of their transactions. That was around 14 per cent back in 2019.

Future of cash in Australia is in Armaguard’s hands

The future of cash availability in Australia is up in the air at the moment as money transport company Armaguard faces insolvency.

It rejected a $26 million rescue deal last week that was put forward by the RBA, the four big banks, supermarkets, Australia Post and retailer Wesfarmers.

"Armaguard confirms it is working constructively with all its customers, including its retail customers, banks and other key stakeholders, regarding both short-term and long-term financial solutions for the industry to remain sustainable," Armaguard Group chief executive Mick Cronin said in a statement.

"Armaguard continues to operate its full suite of services and is confident that over the coming months, it will get the business onto a long-term sustainable footing with appropriate support from the industry."

RMIT associate professor of finance Dr Angel Zhong told Yahoo Finance there will be significant knock-on effects for all Australians if Armaguard collapses.

“This increasing preference to use cashless payments is pushing businesses like Armaguard out,” Zhong said.

“It will then further increase the cost of using cash for both business and consumers, and that will further accelerate this transition to a cashless society.”

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What you need to know about the use of cash in Australia

  • Fewer people are using cash due to the convenience of paying with phones, watches and cards.

  • There isn’t a shortage of cash-withdrawal points, with around 20,000 ATMs plus supermarkets to collect from.

  • There’s about $100 billion in cash floating around Australia - or 2 billion notes

  • The government has not indicated cash will be taken out of circulation

  • The Big Four banks have all ruled out going cashless.

  • Average cash withdrawal has increased from $180 to $290.

  • RBA: ATM withdrawals dropped from 77.9 million in December 2008 to 29.7 million in June 2023.

  • Finder survey: 13 per cent of Aussies never use cash, 44 per cent use it once a week, and 42 per cent once a month or less.