Macquarie Bank, a leading financial institution with assets surpassing $250 billion, has unveiled plans to cease all cash transactions across its branches. Originating from Australia, the bank spearheads a significant shift towards a full-fledged digital operation, aiming for completion by November 2024.
Starting January 2024, Macquarie intends to gradually phase out cash and check services, encompassing its entire range of products from banking to wealth management, including pension and super accounts. Furthermore, the bank will discontinue its automated phone banking services for payments. As elucidated by the bank, “From November 2024, cash or cheque services will no longer be available, emphasizing the digital payment mechanism as a ‘safer, quicker, and more convenient way to bank’.”
For many Macquarie clients, the ramifications extend further. Those accustomed to cash transactions via National Australia Bank branches, Macquarie’s affiliate, will also face this restriction come November. Macquarie clients wishing to access cash must rely solely on the bank’s ATMs after-implementation. These machines, however, cap daily cash withdrawals at $2,000. The bank assures, “Customers can freely access cash via ATMs domestically and internationally without incurring fees, but branch cash deposits and withdrawals will be discontinued.”
While other major banks like ANZ and Commonwealth Bank have hinted at similar shifts, restricting cash services in select branches, Macquarie stands out as the pioneer in implementing this change universally.
The rationale behind such a decision can be traced back to evolving consumer habits. A recent study by Australia’s central bank delineates the dwindling use of cash for payments. Yet, it also underscores cash’s undeniable relevance for a certain demographic. A central bank survey indicates a slight increase in cash usage for in-person transactions, from 23% in 2020 to 27% in 2021.
In summary, as the global banking landscape rapidly metamorphoses, driven by technological advances and changing consumer behavior, institutions like Macquarie Bank are at the forefront, redefining traditional banking norms. However, the complete transition to digital channels and the ensuing implications remain to be observed.