Media Release

Is this the death of ATMs?

  • ATM transactions plummet to lowest level in five years
  • Australians paid $540.6 million in ATM fees last year
  • New payment technologies more convenient and cheaper
  • What you can save by avoiding the ATM

12 July, 2016, Sydney, Australia – ATMs are on the way out with the total number of yearly ATM withdrawals falling to its lowest level in five years, new research by, one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites, reveals.

The analysis of Reserve Bank of Australia data shows that in the 12 months to April 2016, there were 685.8 million cash withdrawals at ATMs around Australia – a decline of 43 million (6%) in one year.

This is the fourth consecutive year on year decline – equating to a 17.2% drop since 2012.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at, says the impact of new payment technologies was huge.

“‘Tap and go’ and mobile payments could make ATMs obsolete in future,” she says.

“The convenience offered by ATMs is being superseded by new and emerging contactless payments.”

She said bank customers who once saw ATMs as a revolution in 24/7 banking are turning their backs on machines in record numbers.

“The use of ATMs had been increasing steadily since their widespread launch in the 1980s until 2009 when the momentum stopped and transactions started to take a slide,” she says.

“As we move closer to a cashless society the trend of less ATM withdrawals will continue.”

The analysis revealed 60.2% of people used their own bank’s ATM in the 12 months to April 2016 while 39.8% used ‘foreign’ ATMs, incurring a fee of $2 or more.

That’s 270,308,000 withdrawals in the 12 month period, attracting $540.6 million in ATM fees (based on $2 per withdrawal) – or the equivalent of $29.80 for every Australian aged 18 years and over per year.


Year Ending April Total ATM Withdrawals
1995 354.0
1996 367.7
1997 375.0
1998 398.0
1999 413.2
2000 460.2
2001 502.6
2002 566.7
2003 681.2
2004 732.9
2005 769.5
2006 800.7
2007 822.0
2008 850.1
2009 865.2
2010 832.6
2011 825.8
2012 827.9
2013 803.4
2014 767.8
2015 729.1
2016 685.8

Ms Hassan says people were becoming less accepting of the extra cost of using a ‘foreign’ ATMs, preferring to use cash-out with EFTPOS or payment card technology such as payWave.

In the 12 months to April 2012 there were 330,457,392 withdrawals attracting $660.9 Million in ATM fees – the equivalent of $36.4 for every Australian aged 18 years and over per years.

“This is a significant decline of 18.2% in ATM fees paid by Australians in five years,” she says.

In 2009, the Reserve Bank introduced reforms that meant customers were reminded of the extra cost of using a "foreign" ATM at the time of the transaction.

The emergence of payment card technology that doesn’t require a pin number to be entered for transactions below $100 in value is changing the way shoppers pay.

“Why spend ten minutes hunting around for your bank’s ATM when you can just flash your debit card for those everyday purchases?,” says Ms Hassan.

Affordability and convenience are so important when it comes to everyday purchases so make sure you fully consider your payment options and don’t pay the lazy tax in the form of ATM fees for cash withdrawals.

However, if you do need to withdraw from an ATM, keep an eye out for banks that waive ATM withdrawal fees, or alternatively apply with a bank that is part of the Global ATM Alliance as this will allow you to benefit from minimal withdrawal fees when you travel interstate or overseas.


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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