ANZ opens its first Brisbane cashless branch
It’s ANZ’s seventh cashless branch, but is Australia ready to be a cash-free society?
In another step towards the reality of a cashless society, ANZ has opened a new cashless branch in Brisbane’s CBD this week. The new branch is located on George Street and is a first for Brisbane, but it is the seventh cashless branch ANZ has rolled out since opening its first one in Sydney’s Bondi Junction in March 2016.
The new branch doesn’t offer traditional telling or over-the-counter cash handling, but staff are available to assist customers who need to deposit or withdraw cash through the bank’s SMART ATMs. Similar to “old” branches, staff will also be available to provide customers with face-to-face advice regarding big life decisions, such as saving towards financial goals, home ownership or running a small business.
ANZ has introduced these cashless branches as a response to customers’ increasing preference to use online and digital banking options instead of cash.
“Our customers are embracing the digital changes we’re rolling out across our network as they continue to use cashless for everyday purchases,” said ANZ’s managing director of retail distribution Catriona Noble.
While there’s no denying that the popularity of digital alternatives is constantly growing, not everyone is thrilled about the prospect of a cashless society. Residents of Springsure in the Central Highlands Region of Queensland are planning to fight back after ANZ announced that it would be closing the town’s last branch on Wednesday 27 September. This means that the closest ANZ branch will be in Emerald, which is a 45-minute drive away.
Central Highlands regional councillor Christine Rolfe says a petition is circulating around local businesses rallying against the decision.
“The whole community suffers. We’re not a cashless society,” she told CQ News. Rolfe was especially worried for local organisations that frequently run events that require organisers to bank large amounts of cash following the event. Naturally, locals consider travelling almost 45 minutes with large amounts of cash as both inconvenient and risky.
As we continue to depend on our digital wallets more and more, banks will need to innovate while also considering regional customers or those who still prefer to use cash. However, considering that Australia is the international leader in contactless payments, it's likely that we're going to have to get used to the idea of a cashless society whether we like it or not.