The Commonwealth Bank has opened a number of ‘cashless’ branches where customers cannot access their money over-the-counter.
Teller cash transactions are not available at branches including nearby South Evely, Barangaroo and the University of Sydney, including Commonwealth Bank Place in central Sydney, which the bank now calls ‘specialist centres’.
Daily Mail Australia also understands that some ‘specialist centre’ branches in Brisbane and Melbourne do not allow cash withdrawals and deposits over the counter.
Deposits and withdrawals can still be made through on-site ATMs but things become more difficult for those who don’t have a bank card handy.
A ‘cardless cash’ withdrawal of up to $500 a day is available using the CommBank app, but those who need more funds or don’t have their phone with them, won’t be able to access the money.
Over-the-counter cash transactions have been quietly removed at some Commonwealth Bank branches
Customers need to find a branch that still offers teller transactions and travel there.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Combank for comment.
Many Australians are outraged by the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to open more cashless branches.
‘Bank branch without money? WTF! It’s like having a petrol station without a fuel! Do they expect people to call into the branch just to say hi and have a chat,’ said one.
The move to cashless branches follows another of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks, which made the switch with little caution.
ANZ said in March it was withdrawing some of its services and certain branches would no longer carry cash.
The bank did not reveal at the time which branches would be affected but insisted only a ‘small number’ would be affected.
An ANZ customer, Taryn Comptyn, went to her local ANZ bank branch to withdraw $3,500 over the counter for a renovation payment because she didn’t have her bank card with her.
“I thought ‘OK’ I’ll just go to Taylor,” he said in an online video.
‘The teller proceeded to tell me that they don’t have cash in the bank anymore, you can only get it out through the ATM but he said, ‘don’t worry I’ll set you up with a card so you can tap it instead of your card’.
However, when Ms Comptyn tried her temporary card at the ATM it repeatedly brought up an error message.
Ms Comptin said the teller suggested she could transfer the cash to another bank account – if she had one – and access it there.
‘Luckily for me I was at another bank so I transferred every single penny to that account, closed the account while I was there and went and got my money from another bank,’ Ms Comptin said.
In March, ANZ announced that some of its branches in Victoria would no longer carry cash other than ATMs
ANZ customer Taryn Compton only found out when she tried to access her cash
In a statement, ANZ said it stood by its move to go cashless behind the counter – and clarified which branches were affected.
A spokesman said: ‘At ANZ we have seen in-branch transactions fall by 50 per cent over the past five years, with only one per cent of transactions now conducted over the counter and 96 per cent conducted digitally.’
‘Some ANZ branches no longer handle cash over the counter, but cash continues to be available through our onsite Smart ATMs.’
ANZ said the affected branches were all located in metropolitan areas and within 10km of the nearest branch with over-the-counter services.
‘At these branches, cash and check deposits and cash withdrawals can continue using our smart ATMs and coin deposit machines, and we have staff on hand to help customers use them for the first time.
‘These branches are all located in metropolitan areas and within 10km of the next nearest branch with over-the-counter services.’
The dominance of digital banking has given rise to fears that society has become too dependent on potentially vulnerable systems.
Commonwealth customers were left paralyzed after the bank’s app shut down earlier this month, leaving them unable to access their accounts, transfer funds online or use their cards to make purchases.
The outage triggered a flood of angry calls and social media posts from concerned customers who wanted to know why they were unable to use the bank’s services, including some ATMs.
Now experts argue that the troubling Commonwealth Bank episode is an insight that can go wrong when people rely too much on online banking instead of old-fashioned cash.
Cyber security expert Ben Britton, who works as a chief information security officer, told Daily Mail Australia that such incidents expose the vulnerabilities of relying too heavily on digital payments.
‘If there is no internet, no transactions, you have no access to money,’ he said.
‘But if your money is in your hand or in your pocket, there can be no electricity and you will still be able to pay people.’
“The huge weakness of the system is its reliance on the internet, internet security and personal device security.
‘Because no one can remotely access the cash in your pocket.’
There are also major security concerns with online banking.
Often fraudsters can pose as banks and lure unsuspecting customers and convince them to transfer large sums of money instantly.
An Australian businessman was recently caught out of $130,000 in a sophisticated text message scam after a fraudster sent him a message from the same number used by his bank.
A study published in January found that physical cash could almost disappear from circulation within a decade.
Independent payments market expert Lance Blockley estimates that traditional cash will account for less than 4 percent of total retail purchases nationwide by 2025.
Mr Blockley, who is managing director of consulting firm The Initiatives Group, said in a 2021 submission to the ACCC that banknotes across all uses, not just retail, would be 10.2 per cent in 2025, down from 24.2 per cent in 2019.
But Mr Britton said online transactions had opened up new frontiers for criminals in terms of the number of people they could target and the huge sums of money they could steal.
‘If you look at cybercriminal organizations or individuals who are cybercriminals who want to rob a large amount of people, they can rob millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of people in a day,’ he said.
‘It won’t be possible to go on the streets, robbing individual citizens of their cash.’
Mr Britton said many criminals had stopped selling drugs, turning instead to online fraud because it was more profitable and less likely to get caught.
‘The old system, coin and cash, worked for thousands of years. No doubt it has its problems but we know what they are,’ he said.
‘But if you look at the digital world, there are so many unknown problems that we haven’t faced yet.’
Another disadvantage of a cashless society is the lack of privacy. Whenever you pay for something digitally it leaves a digital footprint, which can be monitored by banks.
Banks often suffer data breaches through hacking or mistakes, exposing customer data to criminals.
In November, 9.7 million current and former Medibank customers had their details exposed in a major data breach when an unnamed group hacked the health insurer’s systems.
A cashless society also effectively shuts out many older people, who have always used physical currency and are more likely to be less tech savvy.
National Senior Australia lead advocate Ian Henshaw told Daily Mail Australia the decline in cash use was ‘no doubt accelerated by Covid-19’.
‘While we understand the move to a more cashless society – and closely related – the phasing out of cheques, ATMs and banks, is part of the progress, these decisions should be made with seniors in mind,’ he warned.
‘Some seniors are not comfortable banking or doing business online because they are not tech savvy, they fear potential online scams, the cash they always know, and they have no other way to transact their finances.
‘Cash is still a legal form of currency. And, as we’ve seen many times before, online banking or doing any business online can come with problems and risks.’
Read Full News Here