Cashless Debit Card – Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Cashless Debit Card sites and who does it apply to?

Q1. Where is the Cashless Debit Card program currently operating?

A1. The program is currently operating in Ceduna region, South Australia, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions, Western Australia, and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, Queensland.

Legislation currently supports the program operating in these four sites until 30 June 2020. The Government has committed to extend the program in all four sites to 30 June 2021, subject to the passage of legislation.

Q2. Who does the Cashless Debit Card program apply to?

A2. The program applies to all people who receive a working age payment within the Ceduna region,the East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions. Age Pension and Veterans’ Pension recipients are not placed onto the program, but may volunteer to participate. People who earn money from other sources, such as paid work, are also able to volunteer.

In the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, the program applies to all people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Single) or Parenting Payment (Partnered).

Q3. Can I volunteer to go on the Cashless Debit Card?

A3. People in the Ceduna region, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions can volunteer to be placed on the card. If you volunteer, the Cashless Debit Card will operate in the same way as it does for all participants, except you can exit the program as you wish.

People in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region are not able to volunteer to participate in the program.

To volunteer:

  • Individuals on an income support payment that are not placed onto the Cashless Debit Card, such as the Age Pension, can contact their local Centrelink office.
  • Veterans or wage earners can contact the Cashless Debit Card provider, Indue, on 1800 710 265, or go to the Indue website.

Q4. Are temporary residents in a Cashless Debit Card site who meet the payment and age criteria placed on the card?

A4. No, temporary residents (such as visitors, people in rehabilitation or undergoing medical treatment) in a Cashless Debit Card site are not placed on the Cashless Debit Card. Temporary residents may still volunteer to go on the Cashless Debit Card except in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region.

Q5. What if a person on the program leaves the area?

A5. Once a person is placed on the program, they remain on the Cashless Debit Card so long as they continue to meet the payment and age criteria, even if they move to a non-Cashless Debit Card area.

Q6. I manage my own finances, why should I be forced to receive the Cashless Debit Card?

A6. The Cashless Debit Card tests whether limiting the available level of welfare cash in a community reduces the harmful effects of welfare funded alcohol, drug abuse and gambling. People who manage their finances well and do not spend excessive amounts on alcohol, drugs or gambling should not experience any significant difference.

Q7. I receive the Disability Support Pension and have no history of alcohol or drug abuse, why I am receiving the Cashless Debit Card?

A7. By including all working age welfare payments, the program substantially limits the amount of cash available in the community that can be spent on substances that contribute to harm. The Cashless Debit Card can be used to purchase anything other than alcohol, some gift cards or gambling products and cannot be used to withdraw cash.

People in the Bundaberg and Hervey bay region who receive Disability Support Pension payments will not be transitioned onto the Cashless Debit Card.

Q8. Will the Cashless Debit Card be rolled out nationally?

A8. There is currently no plans to rollout the Cashless Debit Card nationally.

At this stage, the program will continue in all four sites until 30 June 2020.

As part of the 2019-20 Budget, the Government has also committed to transition around 22,500  Income Management (BasicCard) participants in the Northern Territory and Cape York onto the Cashless Debit Card from 1 April 2020.

How does the Cashless Debit Card work?

Q9. How does the Cashless Debit Card work?

A9. The Cashless Debit Card does not change the amount of money people receive from Centrelink, it only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments.

Those on the Cashless Debit Card receive:

  • 20 per cent of their welfare payment in their regular bank account.
  • 80 per cent of their welfare payment onto the Cashless Debit Card.
  • 100 per cent lump sum payments, for example Family Tax Benefit payments, from Centrelink are also placed onto the Cashless Debit Card.

Any regular deductions from people’s welfare payments, including rent or debt repayments, are taken from the 80 per cent to be placed on the Cashless Debit Card, not the 20 per cent in their usual account.

The Cashless Debit Card looks and operates like any other bank card, and can be used in stores that have an eftpos machine. The Cashless Debit Card cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products, some gift cards or to withdraw cash.

It can be used:

  • in most stores that accept eftpos for products and services other than cash, alcohol or gambling
  • to shop at most online stores.
  • to pay bills and make recurring payments (such as mortgage repayments)
  • for online banking – with an app for both Android and Apple devices.

It cannot be used to:

  • buy alcohol
  • gamble
  • buy some gift cards
  • withdraw cash.

Q10. How can I check my account balance?

A10. There are five ways to check your account balance:

  1.  Online by logging in to your account at http://cdc.indue.com.au
  2.  Mobile App (download the Indue DCT app via the App Store or Google Play)
  3. SMS “BAL XXXX” from your registered mobile where XXXX is the last four digits of your Cashless Debit Card number to 0488 112 114 and receive a reply with your balance
  4. ATM balance enquiries can be obtained free of charge from participating Westpac and DC Payments ATMs. A list of participating ATMs is available at http://cdc.indue.com.au
  5. Call the Indue Customer Service Centre on 1800 710 265. There are no fees charged for any methods of balance checking.

Q11. Does my Cashless Debit Card have payWave or contactless capability?

A11. No, your Cashless Debit Card does not have payWave or “Tap and Go” capability at present.

Where can the Cashless Debit Card be used?

Q12. Where can the Cashless Debit Card be used?

A12. The Cashless Debit Card will work at all businesses that accept eftpos nationwide except for businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products.

Q13. Can I use my Cashless Debit Card to purchase items from eBay and Gumtree?

A13. While participants are able to make purchases online using their Cashless Debit Card from most online retailers, as eBay sells alcohol, the site is blocked from accepting the card. Gumtree is a site that allows people to sell their second hand goods, which may be paid for with cash or bank transfer.

Participants have access to 20 per cent of their payment in their usual account. To ensure participants are able to make cash-only purchases, there is an ‘other expenses’ transfer limit set on Cashless Debit Card accounts, that allows participants to transfer up to $200 every 28 days from their Cashless Debit Card account to their unrestricted bank account.

Q14. Can I use my Cashless Debit Card to buy items at garage sales, markets or fetes?

A14. The Government acknowledges that we do not yet live in a cashless society. Participants have access to 20 per cent of their payment that they can withdraw as cash to use in circumstances where only cash is accepted, for example at school events, fetes, and farmers markets.

Additionally, participants can freely transfer money between Cashless Debit Card accounts (e.g., one Cashless Debit Card program participant can transfer money to another). Participants can do this online. This may be useful for situations such as garage sales or when buying an item through the classifieds from other program participants.

Q15. How do Cashless Debit Card participants use the card to purchase everyday items?

A15. The Cashless Debit Card will work at businesses that accept eftpos nationwide except businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products. These businesses do not need to apply to accept the Cashless Debit Card as they are automatically approved. If a business sells unrestricted goods such as groceries and restricted goods like alcohol, gambling products or some gift cards they may be contacted by the Department of Social Services to discuss options for accepting the Cashless Debit Card.

Q16. Can the Cashless Debit Card be used in any shop or business including online shopping?

A16. You can use the Cashless Debit Card to make purchases online from approved online retailers and at shops or businesses that accept eftpos. However, there are restrictions in place for businesses that sell alcohol or have gambling activities available such as casinos.

If you try to use your Cashless Debit Card for any restricted activities, your transaction will be declined. For a list of approved and blocked merchants in the four Cashless Debit Card sites, please visit the Indue website.

Q17. Can the Cashless Debit Card be used to do my grocery shopping?

A17. You can use the Cashless Debit Card at all supermarkets and grocery stores that accept eftpos. The merchant does not have to apply to accept the Cashless Debit Card, just like any debit card it works at all stores which accept electronic payments.

In the East Kimberly and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay sites, Coles is an approved online merchant because they do not sell alcohol online.

Q18. Can the Cashless Debit Card be used at a place that mostly sells food but some alcohol, like a café?

A18. Yes, most cafés will accept the Cashless Debit Card for the purchase of food.

Q19. Can the Cashless Debit Card be used at a place that mostly sells alcohol and some food, such as pubs?

A19. You may be able to use the Cashless Debit Card at places that mostly sell alcohol and some food, like pubs. However, you will only be able to purchase food and not alcohol at these places.

Q20. Can I make purchases using PayPal?

A20.

PayPal is not approved for the Cashless Debit Card program. You can make a purchase using your Cashless Debit Card number and CVV from most online retailers. However, there are restrictions in place for businesses that sell alcohol including eBay and Amazon or have gambling activities available such as casinos.

In situations where it is not possible to purchase unrestricted goods with the Cashless Debit Card, contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 for assistance.

Q21. Can I pay for my hotel accommodation using the Cashless Debit Card?

A21. The Cashless Debit Card can be used anywhere that accepts eftpos nationwide including at hotels and restaurants. The Cashless Debit Card may only be used to purchase food or accommodation at hotels and restaurants and not alcohol.

If you attempt to use your Cashless Debit Card to purchase restricted goods, your transaction will be declined.

Q22. Are there spending categories that tell me what I have to spend my money on?

A22. No, the Cashless Debit Card can be used to purchase anything except alcohol, gambling products, or obtaining cash. There are no spending categories associated with the Cashless Debit Card.

Q23. Can the Cashless Debit Card be used to buy gift cards?

A23. The Cashless Debit Card can be used to buy most gift cards, it is only those that can be used for gambling or alcohol or to obtain access to cash that are blocked.

Q24. Does gambling include instant scratch tickets and lotto?

A24. Scratchies and lottery tickets are able to be purchased using the Cashless Debit Card. The Cashless Debit Card can not be used to purchase gambling products or services as defined under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, such as poker machines or online betting.

Q25. Can merchants refuse to serve me if I have a Cashless Debit Card?

A25. While the sale of items or provision of services to any individual is at the discretion of the merchant, Cashless Debit Card participants are protected by all standard consumer protection laws.

Q26. Do businesses that sell alcohol as well as other items such as food have to install two separate cash registers - one for the general public and one for users of the Indue card?

A26. The Cashless Debit Card will work at businesses that accept eftpos, nationwide, except businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products. If a business sells unrestricted goods such as groceries and restricted goods like alcohol, gambling products or some gift cards they may be contacted by the Department of Social Services to discuss options for accepting the Cashless Debit Card. No businesses will have to install separate cash registers to accept the Cashless Debit Card.

Paying bills, loans and rent

Q27. How do I pay bills, including existing direct debits, with my new account?

A27. The Cashless Debit Card is designed to support a range of payment options for regular bills. This includes BPAY, some direct debit arrangements, or setting up recurring deductions.

  • To use BPAY or to set up recurring payments
    To pay bills you can log in to your Cashless Debit Card account at http://cdc.indue.com.au and use the ‘Transfers and BPAY’ link.
  • Direct debits
    To arrange direct debits you will need to provide your biller with your Cashless Debit Card BSB and Account Number.

If you have existing direct debit or transfer arrangements with your regular bank account, you may need to change them so they come out of your Cashless Debit Card. Please contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 for assistance.

Q28. How can I pay rent?

A28. There are a number of ways you can pay rent, including Centrepay, the Rent Deduction Scheme and BPAY.

Centrepay and the Rent Deduction Scheme are available for most people who are receiving welfare payments. Centrepay and the Rent Deduction Scheme are paid before your payments are sent to your Cashless Debit Card, so they come from the restricted 80 per cent, and the 20 per cent paid to your usual account is not affected. 

Please contact Centrelink if you have any questions about your Centrelink payments, Centrepay or the Rent Deduction Scheme.

If you have private rental arrangements with a real estate agent, you may be able to pay your rent using BPAY, direct debit or eftpos. Some also offer Centrepay.

If you cannot use the above options, you should contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 to discuss alternative options including setting up transfers to your landlord’s account or your unrestricted account.

Q29. Can I use the Cashless Debit Card to repay my loan?

A29. Most loans (e.g. mortgage/personal/car) can be paid directly using the Cashless Debit Card by either direct debit or BPAY, including scheduling regular payments.

Where necessary, shopfront staff or the Cashless Debit Card Hotline can assist you to set up loan repayments from the Cashless Debit Card account. This can include increasing your housing or ‘other expenses’ transfer limit so you can retain existing repayment arrangements from your regular bank account.

Before increasing a transfer limit, the Department of Social Services may require evidence of the loan.

Cash and savings

Q30. Will I still have access to cash for places that do not have eftpos such as op shops, local markets, local tradesmen and recreational activities?

A30. Yes. You will have access to 20 per cent of your welfare payment that you can withdraw as cash to use in circumstances where only cash is accepted, for example at school canteens, fetes, and farmers markets.

You can also transfer up to $200 per 28 days to your unrestricted bank account. If additional cash is still required, you can contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 for further assistance. However, evidence of the need for additional cash will be required.

Most businesses in your community have eftpos facilities and will accept payments from the Cashless Debit Card. Additionally, the Department of Social Services is working closely with merchants that do not currently have eftpos facilities so they also are able to accept payments from the Cashless Debit Card.

Q31. Does the Cashless Debit Card affect my credit rating?

A31. No. The Cashless Debit Card does not restrict a person’s ability to apply for a bank loan or to make loan repayments.

Q32. What happens if I need cash during natural disasters?

A32. The Department of Social Services and Centrelink work closely to jointly respond to emergency situations, such as during storms and floods, to support participants as needed.
This can include providing access to additional cash from available Cashless Debit Card funds. You can complete this transfer online via your Indue account, or contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 to request the transfer from your Cashless Debit Card account to your unrestricted bank account.

Q33. Can I build up savings in my Cashless Debit Card account?

A33. You are able to build up savings in your Cashless Debit Card account to make larger purchases items such as electrical appliances, vehicles or a holiday.

If you need access to funds you have saved in your Cashless Debit Card account as cash, you are able to request a transfer of this money into a regular bank account, by contacting the CDC hotline on 1800 252 604. Evidence may be required.

Privacy and fraud protection

Q34. How is privacy maintained for the Cashless Debit Card?

A34. Any information shared between Indue and the Australian Government occurs within privacy law requirements. The Government only uses the data in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

Q35. Are there fraud protections for the Cashless Debit Card?

A35. The Cashless Debit Card has sophisticated fraud control procedures.

Privacy issues are addressed in the legislation for the Cashless Debit Card, with safeguards in place to protect individual privacy. Any information shared between the Cashless Debit Card provider and the Government occurs within the requirements of privacy legislation. The Government only uses the data in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

The data received by the Government from Indue is used for program compliance and helps the Government and Indue to ensure that Cashless Debit Card program participants are not subject to fraud.

Q36. Can the Government see what I buy?

A36. No. The Government cannot see what you buy.

Exits and exemptions

Q37. How does a person exit the program?

A37. Once a person is placed on the program, they will remain on the Cashless Debit Card so long as they continue meet the age and payment criteria, unless an application to exit the program is successful.

From 1 July 2019, participants are able to apply to exit the program if they can demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of their financial affairs. For more information please visit the Cashless Debit Card Exit information on the CDC homepage

If being on the Cashless Debit Card is affecting a person’s mental, physical or emotional wellbeing, they should contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 to discuss their situation further.

Q38. How does a person get an exemption from the program?

A38. If the Department of Social Services becomes aware that a Cashless Debit Card participant’s wellbeing is at serious risk, the person may be referred to a Centrelink social worker who undertakes an assessment and provides a report to the Department of Social Services. The Department of Social Services will make a decision on whether to exempt the participant from the Cashless Debit Card.

Further information

Q39. Does the Cashless Debit Card have fees?

A39. No, the Cashless Debit Card is a fee-free account for participants. You can check your account balance or transaction history for free. Lost or stolen cards are replaced at no charge to the account holder, and the Cashless Debit Card provider Indue does not charge fees for purchases made using the Cashless Debit Card.

Q40. Is the Cashless Debit Card mine?

A40. Yes, the Cashless Debit Card and the account with Indue belongs to you just like your regular bank account and card. Each fortnight, any unspent funds remain in the account and are available to spend, as you need.

Q41. What was considered in the Cashless Debit Card’s design?

A41. The Cashless Debit Card has been designed to minimise any possible perceptions of stigma. The Cashless Debit Card is a Visa debit card that looks and works like a regular bank card. The Cashless Debit Card is silver, a relatively common debit card colour with a number of silver cards currently available on the Australian market.

Q42. What if my Cashless Debit Card is lost, stolen or damaged?

A42. If your Cashless Debit Card is lost, stolen or damaged you should call the Indue Customer Service Centre on 1800 710 265 or log in to your account immediately to arrange to block the Cashless Debit Card and order a replacement card.

Nominated Australia Post and the Local Partners can issue replacement cards. A list of locations is available on the Indue Website.

You can block your Cashless Debit Card by going online and following the steps below:

  1. Log in to http://cdc.indue.com.au
  2. Click on the ‘Settings’ link
  3. Click on the ‘Block Card’ link
  4. Click on ‘Block Card’ button

Remember that when you block your Cashless Debit Card, you are not blocking your online account. Once you block your card, it cannot be unblocked and a replacement card will need to be requested.

Q43. If I have lost my Cashless Debit Card can I still access my money?

A43. Yes, you can still access your funds online as long as you remember your username and password.

You will still be able to continue to make purchases online or with BPAY, and are able to transfer money into a friend or carer’s Cashless Debit Card account.

Q44. How is the Cashless Debit Card different from Income Management?

A44. The Cashless Debit Card has been designed by the Government to test an alternative welfare quarantining mechanism to that offered by Income Management.

Income Management is a valuable tool in many locations across Australia, which has led to an improvement in the lives of many people. The Cashless Debit Card is not an expansion of Income Management. It is a separate initiative that builds on Income Management and tests new ideas and technologies that have been developed with industry and communities.

For more information on the differences between Income Management and the Cashless Debit Card please contact the Department of Social Services.

Q45. Is the Cashless Debit Card the same as the BasicsCard?

A45. No. The Cashless Debit Card is an alternative welfare quarantining mechanism that builds on learnings from the BasicsCard provided to Income Management participants, and tests new ideas and technologies. The Cashless Debit Card provides participants with greater flexibility and consumer choice.

Q46. Can I give my Cashless Debit Card to someone else to use?

A46. No, this is your Cashless Debit Card and it should not be given to anyone else to use. The money in your account is your money and you should not allow others to use your Cashless Debit Card.

Additional support

Q47. What if I am experiencing financial hardship or am in an emergency situation?

A47. Cashless Debit Card participants continue to have access to regular Department of Human Services emergency support services, including advance payments, crisis payments and Special Benefit. These are administered by the Department of Human Services, in line with current practices. If you are experiencing financial hardship or require further assistance, you are encouraged to contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604 or your local Centrelink office to discuss your options.

Q48. Where can I get more information?

A48. The Department of Social Services can answer questions about the Cashless Debit Card and assist people who have the card. Contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline by phone on 1800 252 604.

People on the Cashless Debit Card can also contact the card provider Indue for assistance on 1800 710 265 or go to http://cdc.indue.com.au

Calls to both Indue and the Cashless Debit Card Hotline are free from landlines and most mobiles, and operate in business hours.

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