Almost four million Australians stranded without cash each year

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28 May 2014

  • Nearly two million (1.9m) ATM cards reported lost or stolen annually in Australiai. If lined up in a row, they would cover the length of more than 850 football fieldsii
  • One in eight Australians will lose their ATM card this yeariii
  • Almost half of Australians (46%) ‘completely lose it’ or get ‘very angry and upset’ when they lose their wallet.

Nearly two million (1.9m) ATM cards are reported lost or stolen each year and almost four million Australians (28%)iv have been left stranded without cash in the past twelve months, according to the Westpac Emergency Cash Report.

In addition, more than half of Australians feel ‘lost’ without their ATM card, and once they realise they’ve lost their wallet they feel worried (65%), upset (60%) or angry (55%).

To help, Westpac will launch Westpac Emergency Cash, which will enable customers to cancel their cards if needed and access their cash with just one phone call.

With most Australians (62%) calling their bank as soon as they realise their wallet is lost, Westpac’s 24/7 call centre staff will issue a unique code which enables customers to withdraw their cash from eligible accounts at the nearest Westpac ATM.

The report found that Australians usually realise they’re cashless at the shops (45%), in a restaurant (23%), catching public transport (16%) or at a petrol station (14%).

“At some time, most of us have found ourselves in situations without our wallet - Westpac Emergency Cash helps customers get cash, when they need it most - hopefully making those moments a little less inconvenient, less stressful or in some cases even a little less embarrassing” said David Lindberg, Westpac Chief Product Officer.

“Whatever your cash emergency is - whether you’ve lost your wallet, it’s been stolen or you’ve simply left it at home - it can be solved by a quick phone call any time of the day or night, to receive a cash code to get your cash.”

Providing 24/7 convenience, efficiency and flexibility, Westpac Emergency Cash will enable Australians to make up to three cardless withdrawals a day to the value of $1,000, with a total withdrawal limit of $2,000 per week.

To ensure security, customers will need to identify themselves through a series of questions prior to being issued a unique six-digit cash code, which will expire within three hours or immediately after it has been used.

Westpac Emergency Cash will be available to customers next month throughout the Westpac ATM network. From September, customers will be able to generate a code in Westpac Mobile Banking to make a cardless cash withdrawal.


Top findings - the Westpac emergency cash report

  • A quarter (28%) of Australians have been left stranded without cash in the past twelve months. This equates to 3.84 million Australians aged 18 to 65 years.
  • More than half (57%) of Australians feel ‘lost’ without their ATM card.
  • Two in five (46%) ‘completely lose it’ or get ‘very angry’ when they lose their wallet. Women are more likely to feel this way (52% v 40% men).
  • When they have realised they have lost their wallet, the majority of Australians feel worried (65%), upset (60%), frustrated (58%), anxious (56%) or angry (55%)
  • One in three (34%) Australians have lost their wallet or have had it stolen within the last 10 years.
  • Two in five (39%) Australians have been forced to lean on a friend or family member to help pay for them as a result of being cashless, however over half (54%) are embarrassed to have to do so.
  • Most Australians (62%) call their bank as soon as they realise their wallet is lost.
  • When Australians find themselves cashless, it’s usually at the shops (45%), in a restaurant (23%), catching public transport (16%) or at a petrol station (14%).
  • Many people (45%) would rather lose their phone than their wallet.

Looking inside Australia’s wallet

  • Nearly two million (1.9m) ATM cards are reported lost each year in Australia*
  • ATM cards, cash and credit cards are most common items in a person’s wallet/purse.
  • 90% of Australians carry ATM cards in their wallet/purse.
  • Almost half (47%) prefer to pay for things using their ATM or bank card
  • On average people carry $75, two ATM cards and one credit card.
  • Only 1 in 10 (14%) like to carry around more than $100 at any time
  • Losing credit and ATM cards is more frustrating than losing cash. Credit cards (32%), ATM cards (29%) and driver’s license (22%) are the items, people would be most frustrated about when they lose their wallet/purse, cash causes the main frustration for only 13%.
  • 31% keep emergency cash or a back-up card in a separate place to their wallet/purse in case they lose their wallet.

Source:
1. The Westpac Emergency Cash Report, powered by Sweeney Research, interviewed more than 1,000 Australians aged 18 - 65 between 9th and the 11th of May. Data has been weighted by ABS data to be representative of Australians using age, gender and state.
2. *Westpac Internal Data.

About Westpac emergency cash

  • As of next month, Westpac customers who find themselves without their card can simply call 132 032 to obtain a unique code which enables them to withdraw cash from the nearest Westpac ATM.
  • Providing 24/7 convenience, efficiency and flexibility in emergencies or everyday situations, Westpac Cardless Cash will enable Australians to make up to three cardless withdrawals a day to the value of $1,000, with a total withdrawal limit of $2,000 per week.
  • To ensure security, customers will need to identify themselves through a series of questions prior to being issued a unique six-digit code, which will expire within three hours or immediately after it has been used.
  • Westpac Emergency Cash will be available to customers from next month throughout the Westpac ATM network. From September, customers will be able to generate a code in Westpac mobile banking to make a cardless cash withdrawal.


i Based on Westpac internal data which suggests 250,000 Westpac ATM cards are lost per year. 13% of Australians (14 and over) state Westpac is their Main Financial Institution (source: Roy Morgan) which equates to 1.9 million Australians who lose ATM cards annually.

ii Each ATM card is 8.5cm long. 1.9 million cards laid flat would measure 161,500m. The average football field is 185m, equalling 872 football fields.

iii Westpac internal data

iv The Westpac Emergency Cash Report found that more than a quarter (28%) of Australians were stranded without cash in the last year, which equates to 3.84 million Australians aged 18 to 65 years based on ABS population data

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