Australian ‘Big Four’ bank ANZ stops cash withdrawals at many branches

ANZ, one of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks, is closing access to withdrawals and deposits from some of its Australian branches as it tries to trick its customers into using an ever-decreasing number of ATMs and deposit machines.

The decision has been pushed back, with critics such as Patricia Sparrow, CEO of the Council on Aging, telling The Australian that the change could affect older people who are less able to go digital. Others have suggested it will bring in more Fiat users. Sensitive for technical issues. The move has also allayed fears of an attempt to eliminate cash and that cash may soon be replaced by central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Responding to Cointelegraph’s questions, an ANZ spokesperson said that the affected branches are all metropolitan branches that have ATMs and deposit machines and that the move was partly driven by in-branch transactions, which have decreased by more than 50% over the past four years. Has gone.

The growth comes as Australia gradually transitions to a cashless society, with the percentage of retail payments falling from 59% in 2007 to just 27% in 2019, according to a March 16 bulletin from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). .

The RBA noted that the results of its 2022 study will be available later this year, but added that while the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the trend, companies have also contributed to the change:

“In addition, a significant portion of merchants indicated plans to discourage cash payments at some point in the future.”

The RBA also pointed to a reduction in the number of ATMs and bank branches across the country, with a 30% decline in the number of bank branches since 2017, while a 25% decline in the number of ATMs since 2016 .

One of the major concerns with replacing cash with CBDCs is how they might affect individual liberty and privacy, as cash transactions provide anonymity and the ability to transact without leaving records.

A CBDC pilot program is currently underway in Australia, with an update expected around mid-2023, and one effect identified by the RBA was that it could displace the cash Australian dollar.

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A spokesperson for another Big Four bank, NAB, in an emailed response to Cointelegraph’s questions, somewhat allayed these fears by saying:

“NAB still processes cash at our locations and we have no plans to change. Cash will continue to play an important role in Australian society for as long as our customers want to.

The other two banks in the Big Four, CBA and Westpac, did not respond to Cointelegraph’s questions at the time of publication, but Westpac told The Australian that it also has no plans to reverse access to cash through branches. However, a CBA spokesperson was a bit more vague in his response.

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