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 or email cashlessdebitcard@dss.gov.au.

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.

What’s new?

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 if they can demonstrate reasonable and responsible financial management.

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 22,500 Income Management participants in the Northern Territory and Cape York to the Cashless Debit Card from April 2020.

Cashless Debit Card exit

To exit the Cashless Debit Card program, participants need to demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of their financial affairs.  Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and take into account criteria such as the interest of children, risk of unlawful behaviour, risk of homelessness, and health and safety of the individual and community, as they relate to the management of the participant’s financial affairs.

Participants can contact the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 or send an email to cashlessdebitcard@dss.gov.au to apply.

An officer with suitable financial management skills will contact applicants to discuss their financial circumstances.

An applicant may be required to provide evidence to support their application to exit. This could include additional information such as rental agreements or bank statements.

The officer will provide advice to the Department of Social Services for consideration by the decision maker.

In the Goldfields and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions, the decision maker is the Department of Social Services. In the Ceduna and East Kimberley regions, the decision makers are the Community Panels.

In areas where the community panel is the decision maker, the Department of Social Services will pass on applicant information. Once a decision has been made, participants will be notified of the outcome of their application by mail or email, depending on which option they selected when registering their application.

Processing times will vary for each application.

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:

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 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.

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.

How the Cashless Debit Card works, more information can be found below.

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
  • gamble
  • 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, or email cashlessdebitcard@dss.gov.au

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

For more information, call the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free) or email cashlessdebitcard@dss.gov.au

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