Cash campaigners cop a hit as big bank branches take notes out of circulation

Matt Shrivell
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Macquarie Bank customers will need to use ATMs to get cash.
Macquarie Bank customers will need to use ATMs to get cash. Credit: Peggy_Marco/Pixabay (user Peggy_Marco)

It was touted as the David vs Goliath signal to big banks that cash is still ‘king’, but Cash Out Day organisers may be looking for a ‘refund’ as Macquarie Bank ended cash transactions at their branches today.

Macquarie ceased over-the-counter cash and cheque transactions at office locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane effective immediately, with customers only able to use ATMs to withdraw cash and deposits available via NAB Bank branches until November 1, when that service will also end.

The idea of a cash withdrawal uprising seems to have fallen flat as Macquarie pushed ahead with plans to cash out of services involving physical transactions for customers.

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‘’Macquarie doesn’t have a traditional branch network and this update relates to cash and cheque services in three Macquarie locations in Australia,” the Macquarie Bank website said.

“These services were used by less than 0.1 per cent of our customers in these locations, and we have been communicating with customers to ensure they have alternative arrangements.”

Macquarie Bank customers are still able to access cash from more than 24,000 ATMs across Australia and can also make cash withdrawals at the point of sale via Macquarie debit cards at stores like Woolworths, Big W, BP, Caltex and IGA.

Financial journalist Jason Bryce who is a contributor on the Cash Welcome website has been a strong advocate for the idea of holding financial institutions accountable as they phase out cash transaction services.

Mr Bryce encouraged opposition to services being downgraded by banks and started a petition to keep cash at the forefront of the economy.

The petition was picked up by social commentators around the world and is closely aligned with the idea of Cash Out Day.

“My local bank branch closed down, despite long queues out the door every morning and especially on pension days,’’ Mr Bryce states on the website.

‘’They took the three ATMs away as well. It seemed to me the bank was not responding to ‘changing consumer behaviour’, they were removing the ability of their local customers to easily access banking and cash services so I started my petition.’’

Cash Welcome flagged Cash Out Day as a success spruiking an estimated 1.6m Aussies withdrew over $500m in cash from their accounts via ATMs and bank branches on the day.

They touted that estimates from the Reserve Bank of Australia data showed a clear spike in bank notes on the issue around Tuesday, April 2 which had been declared Cash Out Day.

“We saw a rise in cash usage during ‘Cash Out Day’,” said Con Tsiknis, Head of ATMs at Armaguard on the Cash Welcome site.

Financial Advisor Sarah Eifermann delivered a warning to big business via her Facebook page on Cash Out Day, rallying against the idea of a cashless society and the pitfalls of removing the option.

‘’It is a legal tender and I don’t condone attempts to reduce and restrict use. It is a threat to our viability as a society to be completely reliant on digital access to currency, not to mention the discrimination against the elderly or tech illiterate and weary,’’ Ms Eifermann said.

‘’With all the scams around today, cash is still your cash at the end of the day, and has a reduced consumer cost than when utilised online with surcharge fees!

‘’And don’t even get me started on tech and government control!

‘’So if you are a business that is pushing for no cash, make sure you have your legal obligation accounted for and are advertising this at the front door. 1) So I know where not to shop and 2) So you’re not in breach of ACCC Regulations for which I will report you!

‘’I am also enjoying the thought of creating havoc and chaos for Armaguard, Mr Fox will be in a pickle delivery (sic) his contractual obligations this week,’’ Ms Eifermann added.


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