ACCC grants conditional authorisation for cash transit arrangements

Chair outlines what will be crucial for success

ACCC grants conditional authorisation for cash transit arrangements

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted authorisation with conditions to the Australian Banking Association (ABA), the Customer Owned Banking Association, banks, retailers and other industry participants to continue collaborative efforts supporting cash distribution across Australia.

According to a media release, the authorisation responds to concerns from Armaguard, Australia’s major cash-in-transit service supplier, regarding the unsustainability of current industry operations. The services involve cash transport, management, and processing, which maintain the distribution of cash to banks, retailers, and independent ATM operators.

ACCC highlighted that the authorisation only relates to industry discussions and in-principle agreements concerning ongoing cash access solutions. The authorisation is temporary, expiring at the end of October 2024. Broad support for these discussions emerged during the ACCC’s consultation period.

A further application is required for any implemented industry responses. “A key condition of this authorisation is that the ABA continue to report on their discussions,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb (pictured) stated. “It is crucial that the discussions take into account views from a broad stakeholder group, particularly to ensure initiatives are developed to maintain access to cash in regional and remote areas.”

Cass-Gottlieb emphasized the challenges in areas where high cash usage, limited bank branches, and reliance on non-bank sources like Australia Post and retailers complicate cash access.

In March, the ABA applied for authorisation to discuss and implement measures against potential cash supply disruptions. The ACCC granted interim authorisation with conditions in March 2024, with the application still under review.

Additionally, on December 6, 2023, the ACCC granted interim authorisation for discussions to ensure continued cash distribution throughout Australia. Earlier, on June 13, 2023, the ACCC approved the merger of Linfox Armaguard and Prosegur Australia, including a court-enforceable undertaking as a condition of the authorisation.

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