EXCLUSIVE: Commonwealth Bank scraps cash withdrawals and deposits at many branches across Australia

The Commonwealth Bank has opened a number of ‘cashless’ branches where customers can no longer access their money over-the-counter.

Teller cash transactions are not available at branches, including Commonwealth Bank Place in central Sydney, and nearby South Eveleigh, Barangaroo and University of Sydney, which the bank now refers to as ‘specialised centres’.

Daily Mail Australia also understands that some branches of ‘specialised centres’ in Brisbane and Melbourne are no longer allowing over-the-counter cash withdrawals and deposits.

Deposits and withdrawals can still be made through on-site ATMs, but for those who don’t have their debit cards handy, things get much more difficult.

Cardless cash withdrawals of up to $500 per day using the CommBank app are available, but for those who need more cash or don’t have their phones with them, there’s no access to their funds.

Over-the-counter cash transactions are not available at some Commonwealth Bank branches, including this one in Barangaroo

Customers must find a branch that still offers checkout transactions and travel there.

Daily Mail Australia had contacted CommBank for comment.

Many Aussies are outraged by Commonwealth Bank’s decision to open more cashless branches.

Bank branches without money? WTF! That’s like having a gas station out of fuel! Do they expect people to come to the branch to say hello and have a chat,” said one.

Another joked: “A bank without cash, that makes a lot of sense.”

The move to cashless branches follows another of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks also switching without any warning.

ANZ said in March it was stripping some of its services and certain branches would no longer carry physical cash.

At the time, the bank did not disclose which branches would be affected, but insisted only a “small number” would be affected.

An ANZ client, Taryn Comptyn, was shocked when she visited her local ANZ Bank branch to withdraw $3,500 over the counter for a renovation payment, as she did not have her bank card with her.

“I thought ‘that’s fine, I’ll just go to the register,'” she said in an online video.

The cashier then proceeds to tell me that they have run out of cash in the bank, that you can only get it through the ATM, but she said, “Don’t worry, I’ll give you a card so you can just use it.” tap instead of your card’.’

However, when Mrs. Comptyn tried her temporary card at the ATM, an error message flashed repeatedly.

Ms Comptyn said the cashier suggested she could transfer the money to an account at another bank – if she had one – and access it.

“Luckily I’m with another bank so I transferred every penny from that account, closed the account while I was there and went to get my money from the other bank,” Ms Comptyn said.

In March, the ANZ announced that some of its branches in Victoria would no longer carry cash except in ATMs

In March, the ANZ announced that some of its branches in Victoria would no longer carry cash except in ATMs

ANZ client Taryn Compton only found out when she tried to get to her money

ANZ client Taryn Compton only found out when she tried to get to her money

In a statement, ANZ said it was standing by its decision to go cashless behind the counter – and clarified which branches are affected.

“At ANZ, we have seen branch transactions drop by 50 percent over the past five years, with only one percent of transactions now being done over-the-counter and 96 percent being done digitally,” a spokesperson said.

“Some ANZ branches no longer process cash at the counter, but still have cash available through our smart on-site ATMs.”

ANZ said the affected branches are all located in metropolitan areas and are within 10 km of the nearest branch with over-the-counter service.

“Cash and check deposits and withdrawals can still be made at these branches using our Smart ATM and coin deposit machines, and we have staff on hand to assist first-time customers.

“These branches are all located in metropolitan areas and are within 6 miles of the nearest branch with over-the-counter services.”

The dominance of digital banking has led to fears that society has become too dependent on potentially vulnerable systems.

Commonwealth customers were paralyzed after the bank’s app went down earlier this month, preventing them from accessing their accounts, transferring money online or using their cards to make purchases.

The outage sparked a deluge of angry calls and social media posts from concerned customers wanting to know why they couldn’t use the bank’s services, including some ATMs.

Now experts have argued that the troubling Commonwealth bank episode is an insight into what can go wrong when people rely too much on online banking instead of old-fashioned cash.

Cybersecurity expert Ben Britton, who works as chief information security officer, told Daily Mail Australia that such events exposed the vulnerabilities of over-reliance on digital payments.

“If there’s no internet, there’s no transactions, there’s no access to your money,” he said.

“But if you have your money in your hand, or in your pocket, there can be no electricity and you can still make payments to people.”

“The major weakness of the system is that it depends on the Internet, Internet security and individual device security.

“While no one can remotely access the money in your pocket.”

There are also major security issues with online banking.

Often, scammers can pose as banks and catch unaware customers off guard and convince them to transfer large sums of money in an instant.

An Australian businessman was recently scammed out of $130,000 in a sophisticated text messaging scam after a fraudster messaged him from the same number used by his bank.

It comes after research published in January found that physical money will all but disappear from circulation within a decade.

Lance Blockley, an independent payments expert, estimated that by 2025, traditional cash would make up less than 4 percent of total retail purchases nationwide.

Mr Blockley, managing director of consultancy The Initiatives Group, said in a contribution to the ACCC in 2021 that banknotes for all uses, not just retail, would reach 10.2 per cent by 2025, up from 24.2 per cent in 2019.

But Britton said online transactions have opened up new frontiers for criminals in terms of the number of people they can target and the huge sums of money they can steal.

“If you look at cybercriminal organizations or individuals who are cybercriminals who want to rob a large number of people, they can rob millions of dollars from tens of thousands of people in a single day,” he said.

‘It wouldn’t be possible to do that on the street and rob individual citizens of their cash.’

Mr Britton said many criminals have stopped selling drugs but are turning to online fraud because it is much more profitable and the chances of being caught are much lower.

‘The old system, coins and physical money, has worked for thousands of years. It has its problems no doubt, but we know what they are,” he said.

“But when you look at the digital world, there are so many unknown problems that we haven’t even encountered yet.”

Another drawback of a cashless society is the lack of privacy. When you pay for something digitally, it leaves a digital footprint, which can be verified by banks.

Banks are often affected by data breaches, whether through hacking or errors, exposing customers’ data to criminals.

In November, the data of 9.7 million current and former Medibank customers was exposed in a major data breach when an unnamed group hacked into the health insurer’s system.

A mother of three from Brisbane shared an elegantly simple explanation of why cash is superior to paying by card

A mother of three from Brisbane shared an elegantly simple explanation of why cash is superior to paying by card

A cashless society also effectively excludes many elderly people, who have always used physical currency and are likely to be less tech savvy.

Ian Henschke, lead lawyer for National Seniors Australia, told Daily Mail Australia that the decline in cash use was “undoubtedly accelerated by COVID-19.”

“While we understand that the transition to a more cashless society – and closely related to it – phasing out checks, closing ATMs and banks is part of progress, these decisions need to be made with seniors in mind,” he cautioned.

“Some seniors may not feel comfortable banking or doing business online because they are not tech savvy, afraid of possible online scams, cash is what they have always known and they have no other way to make financial transactions.

Cash is still a valid means of payment. And as we’ve seen before, online banking or doing business online can bring problems and risks.’

Such a move could also leave rural communities vulnerable due to poor broadband and mobile connectivity.

Some have also argued that a shift away from cash payments is making it harder for struggling families to budget, as it’s easier to lose track of spending if it’s not tangible currency you can see in your purse or wallet .

Also, many credit card and mobile payments incur processing fees, which can limit the profit margins of smaller, independent businesses. In many cases, these costs are passed on to the consumer.