Karl Stefanovic calls out Commonwealth Bank as it scraps over-the-counter cash withdrawals and deposits at new ‘cashless’ branches

Karl Stefanovic challenges Commonwealth Bank for scrapping over-the-counter ATM withdrawals and deposits at new ‘cashless’ branches

  • Some bank branches do not do personal cash transactions
  • Karl Stefanovic seemed confused by the move

Karl Stefanovic has pointed to Commonwealth Bank’s decision to open new ‘cashless’ branches where withdrawals and deposits are not available without a prescription.

The bank has opened new ‘specialty center’ branches in metropolitan areas where cash can only be accessed through ATMs.

“Don’t worry, there’s just no money in this bank… is there a matrix outage or something going on right now?” No cash in the bank?’ Stefanovic said Wednesday morning on the program.

Personal counter traffic is not possible at the specialized centers that focus on ‘complex’ banking, including business customers and loan products.

Today’s host Karl Stefanovic wondered if some bank branches going cashless was a ‘glitch in the matrix’

Commonwealth Bank has established a very small number of specialist centers in major metropolitan areas, designed to support retail and corporate customers with more complex banking needs,” said a spokesman.

“These specialist centers provide customers with face-to-face access to specialist lenders for homes and businesses, as well as offering the latest in self-service technologies.”

‘All of our Specialist Centers are very close to full-service branches.’

“We will continue to maintain Australia’s largest branch network for clients.”

But the transition to digital money, which is also being pursued by other ‘big four’ banks such as ANZ and NAB, has raised concerns in particular among older Australians and people in regional areas.

National Seniors Australia chief operating officer Chris Grace told the program there appeared to be a “deliberate game” to get people off cash.

“By 2030, checks will be out of circulation, so there’s a big shift to digital transactions,” he said.

“It’s not as simple and tap-and-go for some, especially those in regional communities where there can be problems with internet access.”

“For example, if you’re a gray nomad and traveling across the country, if you’re in the Australian outback and want to pay for fuel, you’ll need cash on you.”

Mr Grace also noted that fees are often added to digital transactions.

“We are seeing more and more transaction fees added to accounts, especially when people want to access their money through ATMs not provided by the big banks.”

Commonwealth Bank has opened specialist centers where cash is not available without a prescription and only through ATMs

Commonwealth Bank has opened specialist centers where cash is not available without a prescription and only through ATMs

Mr Grace has called for more education and advertising by financial institutions to raise awareness of digital apps and their use, especially for senior citizens.

But the switch to digital money in favor of cash also brings more risks.

In June, the CommBank app experienced an hours-long outage that prevented customers from accessing their funds at all.

“We know how many customers depend on us and we are deeply sorry for the intermittent service issues that many people are experiencing today,” said Gavin Munroe, CBA’s chief information officer.

The outage was due to an application connecting CBA’s internal systems and was not linked to a cybersecurity incident.