Benefit payment debit card trial expands to new areas

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You may have heard that the government have been implementing a cashless debit card system to pay Centrelink welfare benefits to people in certain communities.

Centrelink say this initiative is designed to help disadvantaged communities. Particularly where there are high levels of welfare dependence as well as issues with drugs, alcohol, gambling and health and wellbeing.

Where is the cashless debit card in use?

It has been implemented in the Ceduna region of South Australia and the East Kimberley region of Western Australia so far.

Plans to expand the card to new areas

  • As well as continuing the cashless debit card in these areas, Centrelink now plan to roll it out into new areas.
  • The Goldfields region of Western Australia and the Hinkler electorate in Queensland. Bundaberg and Harvey Bay areas are the next areas Centrelink plan to implement the cashless welfare payments.
  • Cashless Centrelink payments are expected to begin in these new areas in 2018.

Who will the Centrelink cashless debit card apply to?

  • People who live in the Ceduna, East Kimberley or Goldfields areas who are of working age and receive income support payments.
  • If you live in the Hinkler area around Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, you will be issued with a cashless debit card; 35 or younger and receive Newstart, the job seeker Youth Allowance, Single or Partnered Parenting Payment.

How the cashless debit card works

  • It’s like your normal bank card, to use at the ATM or to pay for in-store purchases.
  • 80% of your usual Centrelink benefit is paid onto this card, then you can use it to go to pay your bills.
  • The card only works at approved merchants and suppliers, and can’t be used to withdraw cash or to buy alcohol or gambling products.
  • The remaining 20% of your Centrelink benefit payment will continue to be paid into your normal bank account.
  • Any lump sum Centrelink payments will be paid entirely onto the cashless debit card.

What can you buy with the cashless debit card?

The cashless debit card can be used at approved places to buy:

  • groceries
  • clothes
  • travel
  • pay bills
  • online purchases

Those benefiting from the card can use it anywhere that has EFTPOS. Except you can’t use it to buy alcohol or gambling products, or withdraw cash.

What do you think? Join the conversation

  • Do you have one?
  • What do you think of this Centrelink cashless debit card?
  • We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your views on our Facebook post!