The introduction of ATM direct charging in March 2009 has been one of the more public experiments in consumer behaviour within Australian retail payments. With three and a half years of statistics now available, we are developing a clearer view of its impact.
On the supply side, direct charging has accompanied a rise in the number of ATMs. There were 25,000 ATMs in Australia in mid-2008 and now there are over 30,000.
Despite more ATMs, direct charging has also seen a contraction in the number of withdrawals, with a drop by about 30 million withdrawals between 2008-09 and 2009-10. While this decline coincides with the GFC, the average withdrawal amount rose slightly during this period – suggesting slightly fewer but slightly larger withdrawals from ATMs as a response to direct charging.