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The Australian arm of US bank Citi will stop handling cash this month as customers flock to digital banking channels.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Citibank’s six retail branches in Australia will stop handling cash from 24 November.
Citi’s retail banking business in Australia is relatively small. The bank told the Sydney Morning Post that under 4% of its customers had made cash transactions through the bank last year.
“This move to cashless branches reflects Citi’s commitment to digital banking, and we are investing in the channels our customers prefer to use,” said Janine Copelin, head of retail banking at Citi Australia.
Customers will still be able to deposit cash into their accounts through Australia Post’s network, and mortgage customers will be able to make deposits at branches of the National Australia Bank.
Digital disruption is transforming how consumers engage with banks. Financial technology (fintech) initially focused on creating new service channels for banks. This has changed customer behaviour across the world.
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In Sweden, which has been identified as potentially being the first cashless society, buses have not accepted cash for years, retailers have the right to refuse cash payments and even homeless street vendors accept cards thanks to new digital payment systems.
Retail bank branch networks in countries including the UK have been hit hard by digital disruption. Banks such as Lloyds Banking Group and Royal bank of Scotland have cut hundreds of branches and thousands of jobs as a result of customers moving to digital channels.
Citi said it has no plans to close any of its six branches in Australia because they play an important role in serving high-net-worth customers. ......... .......... .......... .......... ..........