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CBA, Westpac and NAB reveal cheque stance after ANZ shake-up

Cheque usage in Australia has dropped by 90 per cent over the last decade.

Westpac will be the only major bank to continue to issue cheque books to customers. Banks have been phasing out the once popular banking method as it plummets in demand.

ANZ announced this week it had joined Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and NAB in phasing out cheque books to customers. New customers will be unable to get cheque books from June 16, while existing customers who don’t already have one won’t be able to get one issued.

Yahoo Finance understands Westpac has gone against the trend and will continue to offer cheque books to its customers. It does not currently have any restrictions on who can access them.

CBA, Westpac, NAB and ANZ. Australia's Big Four Banks.
ANZ has joined CBA and NAB in phasing out cheque books for customers, leaving Westpac the only major bank to continue offering them.

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CBA brought in the same changes for customers in June, 2023. NAB announced similar changes in March last year and it is understood the bank received little feedback from customers over the move.

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The changes come after the federal government announced Australia would wind down the cheque system by 2030 at the latest.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government would work with the industry to minimise adverse impacts to consumers and businesses, as well as assist vulnerable Aussies to switch to other payment methods.

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How many people use cheques?

Cheque usage in Australia has dropped by 90 per cent over the last decade. At the height of its use in the early 1980s, cheques made up about 85 per cent of non-cash payments.

But with their long processing times and the manual effort required, consumers have been increasingly opting for more efficient means of payment. According to the Reserve Bank, cheques accounted for just 0.1 per cent of all consumer payments in 2022.

ANZ said just 3.5 per cent of customers who are eligible for a cheque book “have one or are actively using cheques”.

“We’re phasing out cheque books as we’ve seen an ongoing decline in cheque use as more customers choose faster and easier ways to do their banking,” ANZ said in a statement.

“If you have a cheque book, you can continue to use it and order replacements via the ANZ Contact Centre or from a branch with teller services until further notice. However, you’ll no longer be able to order a replacement cheque book using internet banking.”

Australia joins New Zealand who stopped processing cheques in 2021, along with Finland who was one of the first countries to get rid of them in 1993. Other countries including Sweden and Norway have also phased them out.

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