A bank customer named Taryn Comptyn had a shocking experience when she went to her bank to withdraw $3,500 but was told by the teller that the branch did not have any cash available. The teller recommended using an ATM card, but when Ms. Comptyn tried a temporary card provided by the teller, it repeatedly showed an error message. Frustrated with the situation, she decided to close her account immediately and transfer her funds to another bank where she could access her money. She shared her story on social media, expressing her disbelief at the state of the banking system and questioning how a bank could function without cash.
Ms. Comptyn's video gained support from many viewers who shared similar concerns about the increasing digitalization of banking services. Some expressed their intention to withdraw cash while they still could, believing that relying solely on digital transactions was concerning. Others were surprised that a bank would no longer carry cash at all, highlighting the potential impact on customers, particularly older individuals and those with disabilities who rely on physical branches and cash. It should be noted that in March, the ANZ bank announced that some of its branches in Victoria, Australia, would no longer dispense cash except through ATMs. The bank stated that only a small number of branches would be affected, as the majority of customers had transitioned to internet banking. However, critics warned about the potential negative consequences of cashless banks for certain segments of the population.
In recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of bank branches and ATMs in Australia. The Reserve Bank reported a 30% decrease in bank branches over the past five years, and the number of ATMs dropped from 14,000 in 2017 to around 6,000 in the previous year. The shift towards digital transactions has also been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with cash usage decreasing by half since the start of the pandemic according to the Reserve Bank's estimates.