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 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 objective of the Cashless Debit Card is to ensure that welfare payments are spent in responsible and meaningful ways and not spent on products and activities that contribute to social harm.

The Cashless Debit Card 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.

As part of the Cashless Debit Card program, you’ll receive an interest bearing, fee free account which is where a portion of your income support payments will be deposited. You can use internet banking and make contactless payments through the Cashless Debit Card.

What’s new?

On 17 December 2020, the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Act 2020 received Royal assent. The Act supports the continuation of the Cashless Debit Card for a further two years in the East Kimberley, Ceduna, Goldfields and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions until 31 December 2022.

From 17 March 2021, Cape York Income Management participants joined the Cashless Debit Card program. Northern Territory Income Management participants can also choose to join the program now.

Similar to other Cashless Debit Card locations, eligible income support recipients in the Northern Territory, Cape York, Doomadgee, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay can now volunteer onto the program. Contact the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free) to find out if you are eligible.

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); the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region; selected Cape York communities and Doomadgee (Queensland); and the Northern Territory.

From March 2021, the program will also operate in the Cape York region of Queensland and across the Northern Territory.

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. People receiving the Age Pension may volunteer to participate.

In the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, the program applies to people aged 35 and under who receive JobSeeker (Newstart) Payment, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Partnered) and Parenting Payment (Single). People over 35 years of age or receiving the Age Pension may volunteer to participate.

In the Cape York and Doomadgee region of Queensland, the program applies to those who the Family Responsibilities Commission have referred. People on Age Pension may choose to volunteer to participate.

In the Northern Territory, the program applies to Income Management participants who have chosen to transition to Cashless Debit Card as well as eligible income support recipients who have volunteered for the program. Age Pension recipients may choose to volunteer to participate on the Cashless Debit Card.

How does the Cashless Debit Card work?

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

In the Ceduna, Goldfields, East Kimberley and Bundaberg and Harvey Bay regions, 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.

Participants in the Ceduna, Goldfields, East Kimberley and Bundaberg and Harvey Bay regions can work out how much will be paid onto the Cashless Debit Card by entering your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.

In the Northern Territory, those who choose to transition from Income Management to the Cashless Debit Card will receive the same payment split they received under Income Management. In most cases, Cashless Debit Card participants in the Northern Territory receive:

  • 50 per cent of their welfare payment in their regular bank account.
  • 50 per cent of their welfare payment onto the Cashless Debit Card.

For participants in the Northern Territory that have been referred under the Child Protection Measure or by a recognised authority of the Northern Territory (the Banned Drinkers Register):

  • 70% of their welfare payment onto the Cashless Debit Card.
  • 30% of their welfare payment in their regular bank account.

In the Cape York region of Queensland, those transitioning to the Cashless Debit Card will receive the same payment spilt they did on Income Management. The Family Responsibilities Commission will continue to determine the payment split for participants.

100 per cent of lump sum welfare payments from Centrelink are also placed onto the Cashless Debit Card.

What does the Cashless Debit Card look like?

Cashless Debit Card

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. 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 or school fees paid in instalments)
  • 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.

For example, this how the card might be used in Bundaberg.

Details above.

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).

Support services

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.

To support the transition from Income Management to the Cashless Debit Card in the Northern Territory and Cape York, the Government has also committed funds for transitional support services to assist participants.

Applying to exit the Cashless Debit Card

Cashless Debit Card participants are able to exit the program where they can demonstrate reasonable and responsible management of their affairs, including financial affairs. Applications to exit are 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.

You can apply to exit the program at any time. For your application to be considered, please complete the exit application form on Services Australia’s website and provide any required supporting information.

In addition to a completed application form, an assessment will be undertaken which will include gathering information relevant to your application and having a phone interview with you.

If you require assistance in the application process, please refer to Services Australia’s website, visit a local partner or contact the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free).

If you require translation services you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450.

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 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.

For more information, call the Cashless Debit Card hotline on 1800 252 604 (free).

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