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Macquarie Bank goes cashless from today. Here's how it will affect customers

People who still prefer to do their banking in-person will have to learn how to do everything online.

Macquarie Bank's transition to being a digital-only financial institution ramps up a notch today as customers won't be able to complete over-the-counter services from its offices anymore. The fast-growing bank kicked off its transition earlier this year and will complete it in November.

From today, customers can't withdraw and deposit cash from the bank's three branches and will have to switch to digital-only payments, which Macquarie said is the preferred method for 99 per cent of its users. The move prompted outrage from some Aussies, with one telling Yahoo Finance banks shouldn't be forcing customers "into electronic, let alone electronic-only, banking or transaction services".

Additionally, depositing or collecting cheques and ordering new chequebooks won't be available from today.

Macquarie Bank customers won't be able withdraw or deposit cash from May 20. (Source: Getty)
Macquarie Bank customers won't be able to withdraw or deposit cash from May 20. (Source: Getty)

Are you affected by your bank moving to digital-only services? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

Unlike the Big Four banks, Macquarie doesn't have a huge network of branches dotted around the country.

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If customers wanted to put in or pull out cash up until yesterday, they had to visit one of three offices in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne.

Under the changes starting today, customers will still be able to withdraw cash from ATMs with their Macquarie card in Australia and overseas and the bank said it will cover ATM cash withdrawal fees.

But they will now have to learn how to do all those other in-person, over-the-counter services online.

Macquarie said customers can find out how to do that here.

"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 per cent of our customers who currently use cheques or cash to ensure they have access to other digital payment methods."

This is just one part of Macquarie's transition to a digital-only bank.

  • January: Macquarie Bank stopped customers from being able to order chequebooks for new cash accounts.

  • March 1: Telephone banking ended.

  • May 20: Customers will be unable to access over-the-counter cash or cheque services at Macquarie offices. This includes deposit and collection of cheques, and ordering of new chequebooks.

  • November 1: Customers will be prevented from writing or depositing personal cheques, depositing or requesting bank cheques, depositing cash or cheques over the counter at NAB branches, or making a super contribution or payment via cheque.

Westpac, ANZ, CommBank and NAB have ruled out going cashless, but the banks have shuttered branches across regional Australia, leaving some customers without the option to bank with cash.

In March, Westpac confirmed it would close four subsidiary Bank of Melbourne branches in Broadmeadows, Airport West, Werribee Plaza and South Morang in Victoria.

The closures follow the bank’s mid-February announcement it would shut down about 20 branches across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Westpac chief customer engagement officer Ross Miller said despite the closures, the bank had expanded access to cash transactions for its customers.

“We’ve digitally connected our brands and branches meaning Westpac, St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA customers can now use any of our more than 500 branches for cash and cheque deposits and cash withdrawals,” he said.

In April this year, NAB closed two branches in the small North Queensland towns of Sarina and Proserpine, citing low customer use figures.

Some 56 per cent of customers visited the NAB branch in Sarina just once in 2023, the bank said, while 64 per cent of customers used the Proserpine branch only once in the year.

Bankwest also divided opinion when it revealed earlier this year it would be closing dozens of branches in Western Australia as it also transitioned to a digital-only bank.

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is inquiring into the branch closures that have swept through regional Australia, with a final report expected in May.

- with NCA Newswire

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