Aussie banks move away from ATMs

Australian banks are reducing their ATM networks after the big four banks terminated ATM fees last September.

QBANK is the most recent bank to transition away from the RediATM network, as customers can now use more readily available big four ATMs without incurring extra fees.

Similarly, in June Bankwest’s long-standing ATM deal with 7 Eleven expired, with over 700 ATMs set to be rebranded with the convenience store’s logo as Bankwest shrinks its ATM network.

The recent ATM closures are part of a wider trend following the removal of fees on big bank ATMs. Many other banks such as ING made changes to their ATM networks.

In fact, according to Mozo’s database, QBANK is the fifth provider to drop out of the RediATM network since the changes, and a further 15 have dropped out of the Westpac network.

“When the big four banks stopped charging fees for customers of other banks using their ATMs it gave smaller banks the opportunity to opt out of ATM networks without substantial risk of customer backlash,” said Mozo Data Manager Peter Marshall.

“The demand for small bank ATMs has reduced as consumers have an abundance of fee-free options to choose from- not to mention the growing acceptance of cash-free payments.”

Shift to cashless slashing big four ATMs

Smaller banks aren’t the only ones doing away with ATMs- the big four are also scaling back their networks because with the introduction of tap-and-go and increasing popularity of cardless payment options, ATM activity in the last ten years has dropped dramatically.

Mozo reported that Australia is leading the world in contactless payments with 325.4 million contactless payments made in 2017 - up 26% from 2016, according to Westpac and Visa research.

According to the RBA, the number of ATM withdrawals has fallen on average 5% each year since 2013, and is now sitting 25% below its 2008 peak.

“Every year we’re seeing less people use ATM services - opting for their card, phone or even watch these days - so it’s safe to assume that eventually the demand will decrease and ATMs will become rarer,” said Marshall.

In the last year Westpac has removed 200 ATMs, ANZ 130 and NAB 115, according to HeraldSun.

“As smaller banks are transitioning away from networks such as RediATM, the onus is falling on the big four to provide a suitable ATM network Australia-wide,” said Marshall.

“But the big four are also scaling back their physical presence in favour of new technologically savvy options, so it’s going to get harder to find places to grab cash.”

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