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Fast-growing Aussie bank starts major overhaul as all branches lose cash ahead of 'digital only' deadline

Macquarie Bank aims to be solely digital by November this year. Here's how the rollout will go.

Macquarie Bank customers will be stopped from withdrawing and depositing cash or cheques at its branches around the country from this month. Australia's fifth largest bank revealed last year the rise of digital payment systems has resulted in them pivoting away from loads of in-person banking processes.

The announcement didn't go down well, with fears older Australians or those who living in regional or rural areas would suffer. But a spokesperson told Yahoo Finance the bank's plan to be solely online by the end of the year was due to how customers preferred to do their banking.

“As a digital bank, we’re committed to transitioning to completely digital payments by November 2024 as a safer, faster and convenient way to bank,” the Macquarie spokesperson said.

Macquarie Bank has revealed it will be solely digital from November this year. (Source: Getty)
Macquarie Bank has revealed it will be solely digital from November this year. (Source: Getty)

Are you concerned about the rise of digital banks? Contact stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

“The majority of our customers already bank digitally and we’re working very closely to support the less than 1 per cent of our customers who currently use cheques or cash to ensure they have access to other digital payment methods.”

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Telephone banking was phased out in March and customers were stopped from ordering chequebooks for new cash accounts back in January.

From May 20, over the counter services at Macquarie offices will cease and customers won't be able to order chequebooks for existing accounts.

You'll still be able to withdraw money from ATMs around the country, however, you won't be able to conduct your regular in-person banking needs at a Macquarie Bank.

The bank said customers need to start using online banking or the app to make digital payments.

"Digital banking is a safe, quick, and more convenient way to transact because you can view and track transactions and other account activity in real time," the bank said.

"If you make a payment via cash or cheque, you also run the risk of it being stolen or lost in the mail."

The final stage of Macquarie's cashless revolution will kick in on November 1.

Cash deposits or withdrawals at NAB branches will be stopped and payments or superannuation contributions through cheques will be banned.

Any cheques received after October 31 will be returned to the sender.

There is a lot of data showing Aussies are using physical money less and less as time goes on.

There were 77.9 million cash withdrawals in December 2008 and that figure has gradually declined to 29.7 million by June last year. Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker found only 13 per cent of Australians used cash daily, with 31 per cent opting for cash transactions just once a week.

However, it appears cash is making a (albeit small) comeback. Recent figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia showed there were close to 30.86 million ATM cash withdrawals in February this year, which was 166,400 more than in January and nearly 1.1 million more compared to February last year.

Aussies are also withdrawing more, with an average amount of $308 in February compared to $292 in the same month in 2023.

While we might be moving slowly towards a cashless society, many of them aren't happy about it.

A whopping 93 per cent of Yahoo Finance readers are against the idea of a cashless Australia in a survey of more than 23,500 people. While a further 93 per cent of people said they were currently worried about the availability of cash in Australia.

January

  • Macquarie Bank stopped customers from being able to order chequebooks for new cash accounts.

March 1

  • Telephone banking ended.

May 20

  • Customers unable to able to access over-the-counter cash or cheque services at Macquarie offices. This includes deposit and collection of cheques, and ordering of new chequebooks.

November 1

  • Customers will be prevented from writing or depositing personal cheques, depositing or requesting bank cheques, depositing cash or cheques over the counter at NAB branches, or making a super contribution or payment via cheque.

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