ANZ has announced it has signed an agreement for the sale of 1,300 of its offsite Australian automatic teller machines (ATM) fleet to Armaguard Group.
Under the agreement, ANZ cardholders will continue to have fee-free access to the ATMs across various locations, including regional centres.
Armaguard Group is set to rebrand the ATMs under its new united national network brand in the next 12 months.
According to ANZ, it will continue to operate and maintain its network of around 900 ATMs located at its branches around Australia, as well as what it has called “strategically important” offsite ATMs.
The ATMs are expected to start transferring to Armaguard group during 2021.
The move from ANZ has come after Westpac sold hundreds of its ATMs to another cash solutions group, Prosegur last year.
The decision to sell ATM fleets has followed the major banks’ decision in 2017 to scrap ATM withdrawal fees.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was the first to announce that it would scrap ATM withdrawal fees for customers who use their card to withdraw cash from another bank, while ANZ followed shortly after.
Regional bank Suncorp Group also abolished withdrawal fees shortly after.
In 2017, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) stated in a quarterly update that given that cardholders can effectively withdraw cash from most ATMs on a fee-free basis, it is likely that having a large ATM fleet will be viewed less as a source of competitive advantage to banks than in the past.
The RBA said that with ATM use declining considerably and the costs of ATM deployment continuing to rise, the scrapping of ATM fees might encourage banks to offload their ATM fleets.
“Having multiple bank ATMs side-by-side or in close proximity (as can often be seen in shopping centres, for example) will make less economic sense now that all or most of those ATMs are fee-free,” the RBA said.
It predicted that banks may look to pool a part or all of their fleets with other banks under generically branded, shared service or “utility” ATM models, in a bid to increase efficiency.
RBA data released in June 2020 from the 2019 Consumer Payments Survey revealed that people typically make around 17 ATM withdrawals per year, down from around 47 in 2007.
The data suggested that around 14 per cent of ATM withdrawals are made at ATMs which charge a fee.