The pandemic affected more than our ability to head out and see a film, go to the office, or enjoy a meal in a restaurant, it also changed the way every day Australian’s spend their money.
Cash usage and circulation in society has always been closely monitored, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic it is no surprise that we saw the use of physical currency drop, but it’s slowly making a rebound, hampered only by a steady decline in ATM ready access and availability in many Australian communities.
Following the 2017 removal of direct charge fees by the major banks, more than 6,000 Australian bank owned ATMs have been removed from service, with more than 4,000 of those decommissioned during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 460 bank branches across the country were closed along the way.
On the world stage, Australia is not alone in the mass retreat of bank owned ATMs, with the UK also capitalising on a reduced demand for cash during the pandemic to accelerate their exit from ATM ownership. Across the 24 months, from January 2020 to December 2021 banks throughout the United Kingdom removed 3,679 ATMs or 14.6% of their entire networks, whilst in Australia our big four banks removed 3,398 ATMs, a significant 32.5% of the bank owned, consumer accessible ATM networks.
Taking a closer look at New South Wales and the ACT, the states and territories hit hardest by ATM removals, the big four banks have collectively ‘shut up shop’ closing 147 branches, leaving close to 300 suburbs without convenient access to an on-site bank-based ATM for cash withdrawals*. This can be seen as a significant shortfall considering the recent impacts of severe flooding which left large areas of NSW without power, communications, or digital payment methods for days on end.
As Australia’s leading cash in transit provider, Armaguard have been protecting Australians for more than 84 years, and has been leading the charge to ensure safe, reliable and ongoing access to cash for everyone.
Established in 2020, atmx by Armaguard is now Australia's largest ‘high street’ secure bank grade ATM network, with a fleet of 2,000+ independently owned and operated ATMs country wide providing fee free cash services to over 10 million Australian cardholders.
Aussie cash is here to stay, and Armguard’s core foundation has always been to protect what matters, the atmx by Armaguard network serves to support freedom of choice, along with surcharge free transactions for vulnerable, remote and budget conscious Australian consumers.
Armaguard Groups’ focus on protection extends far beyond cash and ATMs. With growth partnerships and innovations in technology developments, including High Touch™ antibacterial protection products, digital and remote banking hubs – Armaguard Group is working towards a good as gold future, protecting the cash and assets of all Australian’s, along with their time, energy, resources, health and way of lives.
* Choice / Bordermail