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Finance

Aozora Bank first in Japan to go cashless at all branches

Retail locations to be converted into financial advising centers

Japanese banks are steadily turning away from cash transactions amid the rise of cashless payments. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- Aozora Bank plans to cease cash transactions at all branches across Japan by March 31, becoming the first banking institution in the country to go cashless in every physical location.

The bank's 19 retail branches will eliminate cash deposits, withdrawals and currency exchange at teller windows. The offices instead will focus on asset management advice and other fee-based businesses.

Aozora Bank is responding to the growth of cashless payments and the dwindling demand for cash transactions. Tellers at the Osaka branch stopped taking cash at the end of January, and the company thinks customers nationwide will adjust easily to the change.

Customers seeking cash transactions will be encouraged to use Japan Post Bank ATMs inside the Aozora branches. No ATM usage fee will be levied, as the two banks entered a partnership in 2018. Customers also will pay no fee when conducting wire transfers at a teller window to an outside bank account held under their name.

Aozora Bank has poured resources into its financial advisory business, including for asset management. Cash transactions at teller windows have been limited.

Other banking groups are converting branches into financial advisory centers. Shinsei Bank has ceased handling cash at some sites. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. looks to expand the number of cashless locations.

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