Cashless Debit Card
This page provides an overview of the Cashless Debit Card program. If you are on the Cashless Debit Card and need help with your card or account please visit the Indue website, or call the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free).
For local partner shopfront open hours in all Cashless Debit Card locations please visit the Indue website.
What is the Cashless Debit Card?
The Australian Government is considering the best possible ways to support people, families and communities in places where high levels of welfare dependence co-exist with high levels of social harm.
The Cashless Debit Card is testing whether reducing the amount of cash available in a community will reduce the overall harm caused by welfare fueled alcohol, gambling and drug misuse.
While it is not the only solution, it is a useful tool operating alongside other reforms to address the devastating impacts of drug and alcohol misuse and problem gambling.
The Cashless Debit Card looks and operates like a regular bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, some gift cards or to withdraw cash.
On 5 April 2019, the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Act 2019 received Royal assent. The Act supports the extension of the Cashless Debit Card in the East Kimberley, Ceduna and Goldfields regions until 30 June 2020. This aligns with the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, which was previously legislated until 30 June 2020.
As part of the extension, the Government passed an amendment, allowing Cashless Debit Card participants to apply to exit the program.
As part of the 2019-20 Federal Budget, the Government announced a further extension and expansion of the Cashless Debit Card to 30 June 2021. This includes the transition of approximately 23,000 Income Management participants in the Northern Territory and Cape York to the Cashless Debit Card in 2020.
Cashless Debit Card exit
To exit the Cashless Debit Card program, participants need to demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of their affairs generally, including financial affairs. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and take into account legislated criteria such as the interest of children, if the participant has been convicted of an offence or served a sentence of imprisonment at any time in the last 12 months, risk of homelessness, and health and safety of the participant and community.
On 12 August 2019, the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Cashless Welfare) Act 2019 legislation was passed that broadened the assessment criteria to also consider the participant’s personal circumstances, in addition to their financial management.
This means that new processes had to be put in place to enable an effective, consistent and fair process for consideration of a participant’s application to exit the Cashless Debit Card program.
From Thursday 12 September 2019, an application form is now available to apply to exit the Cashless Debit Card program. In addition to an application form being submitted, an assessment will be undertaken which will include gathering information relevant to your application. You will also be contacted to have a phone interview.
If you have expressed an interest in the exit process prior to 12 September 2019, the Department of Social Services will contact you soon to discuss the next steps in the exit process. However, you can download a copy of the exit application form at any time and return the completed form to email@example.com
Exit application form and supporting information
You can apply to exit the program at any time. To exit the program, complete this exit application form.
This supporting information sheet provides additional information for participants who are applying to exit the program and should be read before completing the exit application form.
Completed application forms and supporting documents should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do not have access to a scanner or computer, or need assistance to complete the form, please visit your local partner shopfront, Community Resource Centre, local library, or post your application to:
Attention: Cashless Debit Card Exit Team
Department of Social Services
GPO Box 9820
CANBERRA ACT 2601
If you require assistance in the application process, please visit a local partner or contact the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free) or email email@example.com
If you require translation services you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450.
Where is the Cashless Debit Card program currently operating?
The program is currently operating in the Ceduna region, South Australia, the Goldfields and East Kimberley regions, Western Australia and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, Queensland.
Visit the link below for more information about the Cashless Debit Card in each of these areas:
- Ceduna region, South Australia
- East Kimberley region, Western Australia
- Goldfields region, Western Australia
- Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, Queensland
Who does the Cashless Debit Card program apply to?
In the Ceduna region, the Goldfields region and the East Kimberley region the program applies to all people who receive a working age welfare payment, with the exception of Age Pension and Veterans’ Pension recipients. However, people receiving these two payments 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 people aged 35 and under who receive Newstart, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Partnered) and Parenting Payment (Single). Unlike the other three sites, other groups of people in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region are not able to volunteer to participate in the program.
How does the Cashless Debit Card work?
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 from Centrelink are also placed onto the Cashless Debit Card.
To work out how much will be paid onto your Cashless Debit Card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.
What does the Cashless Debit Card look like?
Where can the Cashless Debit Card be used?
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, some gift cards or to withdraw cash.
It can be used:
- in most stores 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 mortgages)
- for online banking – with an app for both Android and Apple devices.
It cannot be used to:
- buy alcohol
- buy some gift cards
- withdraw cash.
More information on how the Cashless Debit Card works can be found on the Indue website.
You can also call the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free).
The Government has allocated funds in each region where the trials are taking place to boost complementary services.
The Government has worked collaboratively with local leaders and existing service providers to identify critical issues and support needs in the community. Funding has been provided to deliver support services including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health services, additional family support services, targeted youth activities and financial counselling services.
The support services are reviewed every year to assess their effectiveness and to tailor the services to the community’s needs.
How will the Cashless Debit Card affect businesses?
You will not need to opt-in to accept the Cashless Debit Card and most businesses will not need to change anything to accept the card. It will work at all businesses that have eftpos terminals nation-wide except for at businesses that primarily sell takeaway alcohol or gambling products.
If your business is located within a Cashless Debit Card site and sells both restricted and non-restricted goods you may be contacted by the Department of Social Services to discuss options for accepting the Cashless Debit Card, including entering into a Merchant Agreement.
Further information for businesses can be found on the Indue website.
More information on the Cashless Debit Card
- Cashless Debit Card - How to use the card
- Cashless Debit Card – Bundaberg and Hervey Bay factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – Common Misconceptions
- Cashless Debit Card – Evaluation
- Cashless Debit Card – How and where the card works factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – How payments are split
- Cashless Debit Card – How to buy essentials
- Cashless Debit Card – How to pay bills
- Cashless Debit Card – How to pay rent
- Cashless Debit Card – Important information for program participants
- Cashless Debit Card – Information for businesses factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – Questions and Answers factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – More information about how the card works factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – More information about paying bills and shopping factsheet
- Cashless Debit Card – Frequently Asked Questions
For more information, call the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free).