Macquarie Bank, Australia’s fifth-largest bank, has announced it will completely phase out cash by 2024.
In transitioning to digital-only transactions, the bank will phase out cash, cheque, and phone payment services across its 80 branches.
By November 2024, all cash transactions will be discontinued entirely.
“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.
Australia’s fifth-largest bank also gave a detailed timeline for its cashless 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 said just 1% of customers 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.”
The news comes just months after Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced Australia’s cheque system would be wound down “no later than 2030”.
“The Government will work with industry to minimise adverse impacts to consumers and businesses and ensure vulnerable Australians have the assistance they need to switch to other payment methods,” Mr Chalmers said in a statement.
“We understand the change in payment methods that is already underway is difficult for some people, including older Australians, and some small businesses.”
According to the Australian Banking Association (ABA), just under 99 percent of all customer interactions with banks now occur digitally, while more than 1600 Australian bank branches closed between 2017 and 2022.
Increasingly, remote communities are relying on banking services provided by Australia Post, which allows people to deposit cash and cheques, withdraw money, and make balance inquiries for free.
The service is operated by Australia Post at more than 1800 rural and remote locations, however, not every outlet participates.
A Senate inquiry into regional and rural bank closures held earlier this year found there had been a 30 percent drop in the number of bank branches in Australia over the past five years, a third of which were in regional and remote areas.
Advocacy groups for regional Australians have slammed the closures, arguing in-person banking provides essential services to small businesses and vulnerable community members.
The new comes just days after leaders of the group of 20 nations agreed to impose digital IDs and digital currencies on the world population.
Critics warned that governments and central banks will eventually regulate cryptocurrencies before replacing them with central bank digital currencies (CBDC), giving them more control over the populace.