Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Cashless Debit Card update

The Morrison Government is enhancing the user experience for Cashless Debit Card trial participants by introducing contactless payments and a 1 per cent interest rate on account balances.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston is also extending the trials existing sites until 31 December 2020.

“The Government is committed to making sure the user experience for welfare recipients who are participating in the Cashless Debit Card trials is the same as anyone else if not better,” Minister Ruston said.

“Participants are now earning interest on their Cashless Debit Card accounts at a rate of 1 per cent per which is higher than rates offered on typical every day accounts.

“The Government is also working with the card provider Indue to give participants the option to tap their card to pay. Contactless payments have become a mainstream part of banking in Australia and it is important that Cashless Debit Card participants have access to this functionality.”

Indue is completing the required system upgrades. Interest earned will be credited to accounts from June 2020, back dated to 1 July 2019 while replacement cards to allow contactless payments will be made available in coming months.

Minister Ruston said the six month extension would provide continuity for program participants ahead of Parliament being able to consider legislation to further extend the trials and replace Income Management with the Cashless Debit Card in the Northern Territory and Cape York.

The Cashless Debit Card has been operating in the Ceduna, South Australia, since 15 March 2016, East Kimberley, Western Australia since 26 April 2016, the Goldfields, Western Australia, since 26 March 2018 and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, Queensland, since 29 January 2019.

Minister Ruston announced a temporary pause on placing new participants on to the Cashless Debit Card on 25 March in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. That pause continues.