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ANZ announces huge shake-up

ANZ will no longer issue cheque books to its customers in a major banking shake-up expected to affect thousands, with the changes due to come into effect in just a few months.

From June 16, cheque book access will no longer be available on existing accounts that did not have a cheque book issued before that date.

New accounts opened after that same date will also not be able to get a cheque book, the bank said in a statement.

The changes affect customers with the following ANZ accounts: Access Advantage, Progress Saver, Pensioner Advantage, Acces Basic, Premium Cash Management Account, Online Saver, SMSF Cash Hub, One, Equity Manager, Staff Cheque Account and Retired Officers Cheque Account.

“We’re phasing out cheque books as we’ve seen an ongoing decline in cheque use as more customers choose faster and easier ways to do their banking,” the bank said in the statement.

“If you have a cheque book, you can continue to use it and order replacements via the ANZ Contact Centre or from a branch with teller services until further notice.

“However, you’ll no longer be able to order a replacement cheque book using internet banking.”

The changes follow a prior federal government announcement last year that the country would be moving away from the use of cheques by 2030.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government was working to minimise impacts to customers and businesses and would help vulnerable Australians get the help they needed to switch to other payment methods.

“As the use of cheques plummets and many banks and financial institutions stop issuing cheque books to new customers, it is important to manage this transition in an orderly and planned way,” Mr Chalmers said in a statement.

The use of cheques has declined 90 per cent in the last 10 years.

Cheques only comprise 0.2 per cent of non-cash retail payments in Australia.

“The 2030 end date will be subject to further consultation with industry and stakeholders to determine the feasibility of this timing and an appropriate transition plan,” Mr Chalmers said.

“The government will work with states and territories, industry and the broader community to encourage a co-ordinated approach to transitioning away from the cheques system.”

ANZ said customers could continue to deposit cheques into their accounts until further notice, allowing three to seven business days for them to clear.

The bank encouraged people to consider alternative options for making payments.