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 the Goldfields region, Western Australia, the East Kimberley, Western Australia and Ceduna and the surrounding region, South Australia.

On Tuesday 11 September 2018 the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion) Bill 2018 was passed by Parliament. This will allow the cashless debit card to be rolled out progressively from early 2019 in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region.

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

A2. In the three current sites, Ceduna, South Australia, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions, Western Australia, the program applies to all people who receive a working age welfare payment. 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, people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Job seeker) or Parenting Payment (Single and partnered) will receive the card.

Q3. Can I volunteer to go on the cashless debit card?

A3. It depends. People in Ceduna, South Australia, the East Kimberley and the Goldfields regions, Western Australia can volunteer. 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 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 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. Why are people who don’t drink or gamble placed on the card?

A6. By including all working age welfare payment recipients, the cashless debit card substantially limits the amount of available cash in the community that might contribute to harm. The community-wide impacts of alcohol, drugs and gambling products mean that the Cashless Debit Card program is most effective when most people in a community who receive a welfare payment participate in the program.

How does the cashless debit card work?

Q7. How does the cashless debit card work?

A7. 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 usual bank account.
  • 80 per cent of their welfare payment onto the cashless debit card.
  • 100 per cent lump sum 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 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 card cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products, or to withdraw cash.

It can be used:

  • in any store that accepts EFTPOS for products and services other than cash, alcohol or gambling
  • to shop at approved 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
  • withdraw cash.

Q8. How can I check my account balance?

A8. There are five ways to check your account balance:

  1. 1. Online by logging in to your account at www.indue.com.au/dct/login
  2. 2. Mobile App (download the Indue DCT app via the App Store or Google Play)
  3. 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. 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 www.indue.com.au/dct.
  5. 5. Call the Indue Customer Service Centre on 1800 710 265. There are no fees charged for any methods of balance checking.

Q9. Does my cashless debit card have payWave or contactless capability?

A9. No, your cashless debit card does not have payWave or “Tap and Go” capability.

Where can the cashless debit card be used?

Q10. Where can the cashless debit card be used?

A10. The cashless debit card will work at all businesses that accept EFTPOS nationwide except for businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products.

Q11. Can the card be used in any shop or business including online shopping?

A11. You can use the 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 three cashless debit card sites, please visit the Indue website.

You can request that online merchants be added to the approved merchant list. Once a request has been made, a delegate from the Department of Social Services will check the website to verify it does not sell any of the restricted goods. Once verified, the merchant will be available on the cashless debit card.

Q12. Can the card be used to do my grocery shopping?

A12. 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 card, just like any debit card it works at all stores which accept electronic payments. Online shopping is also available at approved merchants.

Woolworths and Coles are not currently approved online merchants because they sell alcohol. If participants want to shop online through Woolworths or Coles, the Cashless Debit Card Hotline (1800 252 604) will assist individuals on a case-by-case basis to ensure that participants who prefer shopping online through these merchants can continue to do so.

Q13. Can the card be used at a place that mostly sells food but some alcohol, like a café?

A13. Yes, most cafés will accept the card for the purchase of food.

Q14. Can the card be used at a place that mostly sells alcohol and some food, such as pubs?

A14. You may be able to use the 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.

Q15. Can I make purchases using Paypal?

A15. PayPal is not approved for the Cashless Debit Card program. You can make a purchase using your card number and CVV from approved 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.

Q16. Can I pay for my hotel accommodation using the cashless debit card?

A16. 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 such places and not alcohol.

If you attempt to use your card to purchase restricted goods, your transaction may be declined.

Q17. Are there spending categories that tell me what I have to spend my money on?

A17. No, the card can be used to purchase anything except alcohol or gambling or obtaining cash. There are no spending categories associated with the cashless debit card. Under the cashless debit card, 80 per cent of your welfare payment is placed on a Visa debit card that can be used at any merchant that accepts EFTPOS. The remaining 20 per cent of the welfare payment is deposited into your regular account and can be withdrawn as cash.

Q18. Can merchants refuse to serve me if I have a cashless debit card?

A18. The cashless debit card will work at all businesses that accept EFTPOS nationwide, except for businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products. 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.

Paying bills, loans and rent

Q.19 How do I pay bills, including existing direct debits, with my new account?

A19. 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 www.indue.com.au/dct and use the ‘Transfers and BPAY’ link.
  • Direct debits
    To arrange direct debits you will need to provide your biller with your card number. Please note direct debits made using a BSB and account number cannot be made.

If you have existing direct debit or transfer arrangements with your regular bank account, you may wish 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.

Q20. How can I pay rent?

A20. 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 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.

Q21. Can I use the card to repay my loan?

A21. Most loans (e.g. mortgage/personal/car) can be paid directly using the cashless debit card by either direct debit (using the card number) 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 usual bank account.

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

Cash and savings

Q22. 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?

A22. 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 card.

Q23. Does the cashless debit card affect my credit rating?

A23. No. The cashless debit card does not restrict a person’s ability to apply for a bank loan or to make loan repayments. If you are unable to secure a bank loan, you are encouraged to contact the Cashless Debit Card Hotline on 1800 252 604, where Departmental staff may be able to assist you.

Q24. What happens if I need cash during natural disasters?

A24. Recognising that participants will need cash for emergency situations, such as during storms and floods, which may affect EFTPOS functionality, 20 per cent of your welfare payment is deposited into your regular account and can be withdrawn as cash. If you need more than what is in your normal bank account, you can use the ‘other expenses’ transfer (limit of $200 that can be used every 28 days) function. You can complete this transfer online via your Indue account, or contact the Department of Social Services via the dedicated hotline on 1800 252 604 to request the transfer from your cashless debit card account to your unrestricted bank account.

Q25. Can I build up savings in my cashless debit card account?

A25. You are able to build up savings in your cashless debit card account to purchase larger items such as electrical appliances, vehicles or a holiday.

If you need access to funds you have saved in your cashless debit card account, you are able to request a transfer of this money into a regular bank account, subject to standard processes.

Privacy and fraud protection

Q26. How is privacy maintained for the cashless debit card?

A26. Any information shared between Indue and the Australian Government occurs within the requirements of privacy laws. The Government only uses the data in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

Q27. Are there fraud protections for the cashless debit card?

A27. 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 card provider and the Government occurs within the requirements of privacy legislation. The Government may only use 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.

Q28. Can the Government see what I buy?

A28. No. The Government cannot see what you buy.

Exits and exemptions

Q29. How does a person exit the program?

A29. Once a person is placed on the program, they will remain on the cashless debit card so long as they continue to meet the age and payment criteria, or until the trials cease.

If being on the 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.

Q30. How does a person get an exemption from the program?

A30. If the Department of Social Services becomes aware that a cashless debit card participant’s wellbeing is at serious risk, the person is referred to a Centrelink social worker who undertakes an assessment and provides a report to the Department. The department will make a decision on whether to exempt the participant from the CDC.

Further information

Q31. Does the card have fees?

A31. 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 card provider Indue does not charge fees for purchases made using the card.

Q32. Is the cashless debit card mine?

A32. Yes, the cashless debit card and the account with Indue belongs to you just like your normal bank account and card. Each fortnight, any unspent funds remain in the account and are available to spend as you need.

Q33. What was considered in the card’s design?

A33. The cashless debit card has been designed to minimise any possible perceptions of stigma. The card is a standard Visa Debit card that looks and works like a standard bank card. To reduce any stigma, the card has been designed to look like other debit cards. The cashless debit card is silver, a relatively common debit card colour with a number of silver cards currently available on the Australian market.

Q34. What if my card is lost, stolen or damaged?

A34. If your 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 card and order a replacement card.

Australia Post and the Local Partners can issue replacement cards.

You can block your card by going online and following the steps below:

  1. 1. Log in to www.indue.com.au/dct/login
  2. 2. Click on the ‘Settings’ link
  3. 3. Click on the ‘Block Card’ link
  4. 4. Click on ‘Block Card’ button

Remember that when you block your 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.

Q35. If I have lost my card can I still access my money?

A35. 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 restricted account.

Q36. How is the cashless debit card different from income management?

A36. 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.

While income management is targeted towards vulnerable individuals, the cashless debit card is testing whether restricting the amount of cash in a community can reduce the overall social harm caused by welfare-fuelled alcohol, gambling and drug misuse at the individual and community level.

For more information on the differences between income management and the cashless debit card please contact the Department of Social Services.

Q37. Can I give my card to someone else to use?

A37. No, this is your 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

Q38. What if I am experiencing financial hardship or am in an emergency situation?

A38. Cashless debit card participants continue to have access to regular Department of Human Services (DHS) emergency support services, including advance payments, crisis payments and Special Benefit. These are administered by DHS, 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.

Q39. Where can I get more information?

A39. The Department of Social Services can answer questions about the cashless debit card and assist people who have the card. Contact DSS 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 www.indue.com.au/dct/

Calls to both Indue and the DSS Hotline are free from landlines and most mobiles, and operate in business hours. Lost or stolen cards can be reported 24/7.

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