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Major bank to begin phasing out cash and cheques



Macquarie Bank will phase out its cash, cheque and phone payments for customers from next year as it moves to digital-only payment systems.

Under the changes, Macquarie Bank is also ending its partnership with NAB bank branches.

In a letter written to customers, Macquarie Bank said that by November 2024 customers will be unable to write or deposit cheques ( including bank cheques), deposit or withdraw cash over the counter at NAB branches or make a super contribution or payment with a cheque.

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From January, Macquarie Bank customers will not be able to order a new cheque book.

Macquarie Bank's telephone banking system will be scrapped in March next year, while in May cheques will be ditched completely. 

Customers will also be no longer able to deposit or withdraw cash or cheques over the counter at Macquarie branches from May 2024.

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"As a digital bank, we're committed to transitioning to completely digital payments by November 2024 as a safer, faster and convenient way to bank," a Macquarie Bank spokesperson said.

"The majority of our customers already bank digitally and we're working very closely to support the less than 1 percent of our customers who currently use cheques or cash to ensure they have access to other digital payment methods."

The changes come after Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced in June cheques will be phased out nationwide by 2030 in a federal government shake-up of Australia's payments system.

Macquarie Bank's move has been met with criticism about how it will affect some groups of people who rely on non-digital services the most, particularly the elderly.

Business owner Rhiannon Druce, who runs the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory in the NSW Riverina town, said it was also people in regional areas who suffered when banks went digital only.

''People in regional areas constantly have challenges around internet access so using cash is often an easier option, making the local bank branch and cash services important to those in country towns," Druce said.

"There is concern other banks will follow Macquarie Bank's lead which unfortunately feels inevitable."

A parliamentary inquiry into regional bank closures will hold a hearing in Junee next Thursday.

Junee's only bank in town, the Commonwealth Bank, has plans to close its branch but was forced to stay open for the time being following community protests.

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