Australia’s fifth-largest bank, Macquarie Bank, has announced its transition to digital-only transactions. Starting from January 2024, the bank will begin phasing out all cash, cheque, and phone payment services in its 80 branches. By November 2024, all in-branch cash transactions will be completely discontinued.
“Between January 2024 and November 2024, we’ll be phasing out our cash and cheque services across all Macquarie banking and wealth management products, including pension and super accounts,” the bank said in a statement.
According to Investing.com, the bank has laid out a detailed timeline for this transition:
- January 2024: Phasing out of new checkbooks for new cash management accounts, including any linked Macquarie Wrap accounts.
- March 2024: Automated telephone banking services will be shut down, making phone payments impossible.
- May 2024: Depositing or withdrawing cash or cheques over the counter at Macquarie branches will no longer be possible. Ordering checkbooks for existing accounts will also be discontinued.
- November 2024: Writing or depositing cheques, including bank cheques, will be completely phased out. Superannuation contributions or payments using cheques will also cease.
The bank has a market capitalization of just under $69 billion and over one million retail customers.
Macquarie Bank has explained its decision by noting that its customers are predominantly digital bankers and only about 1% still use cash or checks.
“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,” a Macquarie Bank spokesperson said.
“The majority of our customers already bank digitally and we’re working very closely to support the less than 1% of our customers who currently use cheques or cash to ensure they have access to other digital payment methods.”
Despite the bank’s reassurances, there were also fears about what the growing trend towards digital-only transactions would mean for older Australians.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen in terms of educating and informing senior Australians in terms of being able to operate using their smartphones and these apps,” Chief Operating Officer of National Seniors Australia Chris Grice told 9News in July.
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ decided to stop handling cash in a few branches, but the move by Macquarie to almost entirely phase out cash is unprecedented.
NAB are also ramping up their digital-only locations, with several “Tellerless” branches around the country.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers also announced in June that cheques would be entirely phased out in Australia by 2030.