Big 4 banks shut 350 branches across Australia during COVID

People standing outside an ANZ Bank branch using ATMs, while the big 4 banks close physical branches across Australia.

Westpac, ANZ, NAB and CommBank have already or plan to close down 350 bank branches between January 2020 and Christmas 2021.

This collective figure comes from a parliamentary committee review of the four major banks, which are cutting back branch networks in response to reduced foot traffic in previously busy areas impacted by the pandemic.

ANZ is leading the closure race with 145 branches shutting up shop, followed by Westpac closing 80 branches, NAB with 72 and Commonwealth Bank with 53. Unlike the other big four contenders, ANZ doesn’t currently hold a contract with Australia Post for its customers to use AusPost offices around the country for their banking needs.

While many customers already do much of their banking online and may not use services at physical branches, some customers could struggle with this shift towards digital banking. This could include people who are not fluent in technology or don’t have easy access to the internet for economic reasons, as well as people with certain disabilities.

What are digital banks?

A digital bank or neobank is an authorised banking institution that operates entirely online, with some relying solely on banking apps. They usually don’t have branches (although some may have physical services centres) and will focus on their customers' online user experience with features like spend tracking, automatic online transfers or payments, and mobile payment options.

RELATED: Dive deeper into how digital technology is changing the way Australians manage their personal finances by tuning into the latest season of Mozo’s podcast, The Finance Burrito.

Accessible online banking features

Accessibility can refer to numerous aspects of banking. In a bank branch, accessible banking might mean having ramps, automatic doors and large text signage installed. For ATMs users, it could include Braille or audio-enable communication at machines, plus bank cards with physical indicators.

Online, it’s often about banks and lenders meeting the current universal design principles for digital services. This generally focuses on making web pages and apps accessible for people with hearing or vision impairments, and is often achieved through features like voice activation and audio capabilities, adjustable text sizes, appropriate colour contrast and Auslan interpreter support.

It also acknowledges that not everybody has the same level of financial literacy or English language skills. Banks are beginning to recognise this and cut back on jargon to make banking more approachable wherever you get policy documents and information (this is often referred to as ‘easy English’).

If you’re not satisfied with your provider's digital offerings or accessibility measures, investigate some of the bank accounts below or get answers to online banking FAQs at our neobank comparison page.

Compare bank accounts - last updated 23 June 2024

Search promoted bank accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Bank Account Awards

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