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Why Aussies are rushing to withdraw cash

ECONOMY
Aussies have flocked to ATMs all over the country, withdrawing thousands in protest against card-only payments.

Aussies have flocked to ATMs all over the country to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash as part of a massive awareness campaign against card payments.

The Cash is King Australia Facebook group promoted the unofficial Cash Out Day to their 27,000+ followers, calling on anti-card activists to withdraw from bank branches or machines.

“Cash out tomorrow June 14th,” the group wrote to its followers on Thursday night.

“Bank branch or ATM, get it out, use it don’t lose it.”

The rallying call resulted in dozens of posts in support as people showed off their withdrawals.

A post on the Cash is King Facebook group urging people to withdraw cash on June 14. Picture: Supplied / Facebook
A post on the Cash is King Facebook group urging people to withdraw cash on June 14. Picture: Supplied / Facebook

“Just got some cash out this morning in Sydney CBD. Let them know that we won’t let them take cash away!” One user wrote, accompanied with a photo of multiple $50 notes being withdrawn from an ATM.

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Another replied: “Awesome! It’s great to see people standing up for their right to use cash in Sydney CBD. Let’s keep fighting for our financial freedom!”

Some bragged about withdrawing thousands of dollars while others urged people to “use it or lose it”.

One woman revealed how she took part but panicked when she tried to withdraw again.

“Thought my card was stuck … freaked me out … then the out of order sign came up,” she wrote.

Federal Budget Generic Images
Despite an influx in support posts, figures reveal the use of ATMs across Australia has been on decline for years while bank branches have steadily closed. Picture: NewsWire / Max Mason-Hubers

“Guess I took the last $200 out for the morning … cash is king.”

A similar protest was held in April.

The event has gained momentum as a protest against the increase in card-only payment options.

Despite the substantial interest in the cause, the use of ATMs across the country has been declining since 2008.

Figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reveal the number and value of ATM withdrawals has fallen by about 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

The number and value of ATM withdrawals has fallen significantly since 2008. Picture: Supplied / RBA
The number and value of ATM withdrawals has fallen significantly since 2008. Picture: Supplied / RBA

Cash withdrawals fell dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic and have only partially recovered.

A Senate inquiry examining bank closures across regional Australia was last year told more than 2100 Aussie bank branches had closed across the country since 2017.

That figure marks a 39 per cent reduction in active branches for major metropolitan areas.

Regional areas suffered a 34 per cent loss in the number of active bank branches.