Macquarie Bank moves to cashless digital only paymnents on May 20

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The trend to a cashless society continues to accelerate as one of Australia’s largest financial institutions ends cash transactions at its offices.

Macquarie Bank will shift to digital-only payments from May 20, part of the group’s plan to phase out cash and cheque services for all of its products.

From next week, customers will not be able to access over-the-counter services at Macquarie offices, deposit or collect cheques or order new chequebooks.

From November 1, customers will not be able to write or deposit personal cheques, deposit or request bank cheques, deposit cash or cheques over the counter at NAB branches or make super contributions or payments via cheque.

Macquarie, unlike the “big four” banks; Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ, does not have a traditional branch network, and the changes affect its three offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

It is expected the changes will affect less than 1 per cent of the bank’s customer base.

Customers can still access cash through ATMs with a Macquarie card and the bank has said it will cover ATM cash withdrawal fees.

The move comes as financial businesses reduce their exposure to cash transactions.

Westpac, ANZ, CommBank and NAB have ruled out going cashless, but the banks have shuttered branches across regional Australia, leaving some customers without the option to bank with cash.

In March, Westpac confirmed it would close four subsidiary Bank of Melbourne branches in Broadmeadows, Airport West, Werribee Plaza and South Morang in Victoria.

The closures follow the bank’s mid-February announcement it would shut down about 20 branches across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Westpac chief customer engagement officer Ross Miller said despite the closures, the bank had expanded access to cash transactions for its customers.

“We’ve digitally connected our brands and branches meaning Westpac, St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA customers can now use any of our more than 500 branches for cash and cheque deposits and cash withdrawals,” he said.

In April this year, NAB closed two branches in the small North Queensland towns of Sarina and Proserpine, citing low customer use figures.

Some 56 per cent of customers visited the NAB branch in Sarina just once in 2023, the bank said, while 64 per cent of customers used the Proserpine branch only once in the year.

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is inquiring into the branch closures that have swept through regional Australia, with a final report expected in May.

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