Outline of Cashless Debit Card Trial


The Cashless Debit Card Trial will test the concept of cashless welfare arrangements by disbursing a portion of particular welfare payments to a restricted bank account, accessed by a debit card which does not allow cash withdrawals or the purchase of alcohol or gambling products.

The trial will test whether significantly reducing access to discretionary cash, by placing a significant proportion of a person's welfare payments into a restricted bank account, can reduce the habitual abuse and associated community level harm resulting from alcohol, gambling and drugs. It will also test whether cashless welfare arrangements are more effective when community bodies are involved.

In trial areas (8.7.3), people who are on certain Centrelink payments, called trigger payments (, will have 80% of their welfare payments placed onto a cashless debit card that cannot be used to buy alcohol, for gambling, or to withdraw cash. The remaining 20%, the unrestricted portion, will be paid into the person's nominated bank account to be spent as they wish and can be accessed as cash.

Some participants in the Cashless Debit Card Trial can apply to a community body (8.7.7) to have their restricted portion reduced and the unrestricted portion increased.

People living in trial areas (except for the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial area) can also volunteer for the trial if they receive the Age and veteran's pension, or as a private volunteer ( if they receive a wage. People living outside trial areas are also able to volunteer for the Cashless Debit Card as a private volunteer through the financial institution.

The trial began on 1 February 2016 and is now operating in 4 trial areas. For the Ceduna, East Kimberley and Goldfields trial areas, the legislated trial end date is 30 June 2019. The Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial will run until 30 June 2020.

Last reviewed: 4 February 2019