Australia may be turning into a “less cash” society as faster ways of payment potentially lead to the extinction of ATMs.
Professor Steve Worthington of Swinburne University told The Newsroom ATMs were being used less due to contactless payments.
“We do buy more things or pay for more things than what we would be doing with cash,” Professor Steve Worthington said.
“I think we quite enjoy an amenity of cash and its acceptability everywhere and so the downside of not having ATMs is that everything would be monitored. Everything would be recorded electronically and we would probably feel a bit surveyed.”
Professor Worthington believes the effects of contactless payment methods may decrease the use of ATMs but will not lead to absolute extinction: “We may end up what I would call a ‘less cash’ society rather than a cashless society.”
ANZ has cut a total of ten ATMs in the past year and Commonwealth Bank machine transactions have reportedly fallen by ten per cent. The ongoing decline in ATM services has lead to a significant rise in more convenient technologies such as tap-and-go and mobile payment methods like Apple Pay.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, there has been a decline in ATM cash withdrawals by an average of around four per cent since 2013, resulting in a decrease in demand for ATM services.
ANZ became Australia’s first bank to support the contactless payment method Apple Pay – a digital wallet service giving users the ability to pay for goods and services by swiping their iPhone (and other Apple devices) over contactless payment terminals.
There are other forms of mobile payments such as Samsung Pay, Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass. Just this week, Google launched Android Pay, which is compatible with 28 financial institutions.
Mitch Hansen, a 21-year-old student from Sydney’s north, uses tap-and-go for convenience and security: “ATMs have surcharges and are tools for corrupt individuals to scam people,” he told The Newsroom. “Contactless payment methods like Apple Pay are the way forward as they offer simplicity.”
Another 21-year-old Sydney student, Eleni Vikas, uses tap-and-go but does not feel a sense of security while tapping away: “I use tap and go everywhere I go, even though I don’t believe contactless payment methods are safe,” she told The Newsroom. “I think it’s just one of those trends that you follow because everyone else is doing it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quick and easy, but I still don’t necessarily trust it.
“If ATMs were to become extinct, I would feel very uneasy. To know that all of your money is held under certain technologies that are contactless is a really scary thing.” – Vivien Wickham