All posts by JBryce

Melbourne based business journalist

Cashless Welfare Card hardly reduces alcohol spending at all

Data released by the government shows that the Indue Cashless Debit Card scheme hardly reduces alcohol spending at all.

The aim of the card is to limit people’s ability to buy alcohol, cigarettes, gambling products or access cash by paying 80 per cent of their Centrelink benefit to the managed Visa debit card.

The card is currently issued to many welfare recipients in Ceduna, South Australia, the Goldfields and East Kimberley in WA, Hervey bay and Bundaberg in Queensland.

Over the last five years, to April 2021, the Cashless Debit Card has reduced spending on alcohol in Ceduna by $220,000, according to data released by the Department of Social Services.

Monash University researcher Luke Greenacre told ABC News that equals about $80 per person per year.

“There’s about 500 people (give or take) on the card and this was over five years,” said Luke Greenacre, “So … that’s about $80 per person, per year,” he said.

$70,000 worth of attempted alcohol purchases using the CDC were blocked at the Point of Sale over the five years, according to the departmental data. That equals about $28 per CDC holder per year.

“That’s more likely accidental use of the card, they have reached for the wrong card in their wallet when they have been trying to buy a six-pack… ” said Luke Greenacre.

Tim Wildash, CEO of Next Payments,* (an ATM network) said people on cashless welfare card programs are at risk of being left without the ability to buy food and essentials if there is a cashless payment outage. 

“Cash is used by many people on low incomes to get good deals, budget effectively and place self-imposed limits on their spending,” said Mr Wildash 

“Also, making people rely on online and card payments means they lose a lot of their privacy and card purchases may be subject to surcharges, which can add to the price of goods and services.” 

*Jason Bryce also works for Next Payments


800,000 struggling families face “cliff” in September say banks

800,000 struggling families who were granted six month deferrals on their mortgage repayments will be asked to resume full repayments from September said Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Bankers Association.

Borrowers can apply for another four month deferral without impacting their credit rating but further deferrals “will not be automatic” and only go to “those who genuinely need some extra time.”

“Those who are able to repay their loans will resume doing so, which is in the best interests of those customers,” said Anna Bligh.

But what about everybody else who is still in this COVID-19 Depression?

The ABA says “they will be assisted through their bank’s hardship process to determine the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances.

What are the options? The ABA says:

  • Extending the length of the loan
  • Converting to interest only payments for a period of time
  • Consolidating debt
  • A combination of these and other measures

Banks have put on thousands of extra hardship team staff and Anna Bligh wants you to be nice when they ask you to begin repayments again.

“Please be patient with bank staff as we enter this next phase”.

Banks must, according to the Banking Code of Practice:

Communicate with customers in a clear and timely manner,

Act with honesty and integrity

Treat customers in a fair and ethical manner.

Links to bank home loan support for COVID-19 affected borrowers in Australia:

Commonwealth Bank Support for Home Loan Customers page.

Westpac COVID-19 Customer Support Package page.

National Australia Bank (NAB) Banking Support Guidance During COVID-19 page.

ANZ Bank Personal Customers COVID-19 Help page



Guide to RoboDebt refunds: KMA ROBODEBT

This is how to get your Centrelink RoboDebt (tax-averaged debt) repaid to you.
This step-by-step guide will get you the money.
373,000 past customers of Centrelink (since 2015) are getting an average pay out of $1,932. All 470,000 Centrelink RoboDebts have been overturned by a historic court judgement. The government is still fighting about debts found when they asked people to bring in documents.
ScoMo has apologised for the hurt and the suffering but now it’s time for Centrelink to pay out $721 million.
Here is how to do get your slice of the RoboDebt Jackpot:
  1. Sign into myGov, go to Centrelink online.
  2. Select Refund pending task.
  3. Click ‘start task’ follow prompts to complete
  4. Submit your updated details.
  5. Sit back and wait up to five days for your PAY OUT and a letter in the snail mail. And yes all the fees, charges and interest is being repaid too. If you haven’t repaid your debt, it is now zero.
  6. Don’t see Refund Pending Task? Ask for explanation:
  7. Go to Payments and Claims in menu
  8. Select Income Compliance refund query
  9. Answer the questions & submit.

People are talking about it on Facebook at Unofficial Centrelink News.

payWave crimeWave – Cops warn: Lock up your cars, protect your cards

Tap and Steal: COVID-19 sparks contactless payments crime spree

The $200 limit for contactless payments with no PIN or signature has led to an apparent crime spree. This kind of theft was in decline before COVID-19.

During the last three months, Police in Australia and New Zealand have issued more than 48 warnings, public statements and social media posts about contactless card fraud.

Since the 3rd of April 2020 when the limit was doubled from $100 to $200, criminals seem to have targeted Visa payWave and Mastercard Tap & Go cards.


The $200 limit was introduced after pressure from Visa and Mastercard, who said they were exploring ways to support Australians.

“Many Australians are being hurt by Tap and Steal card fraud,” said Tim Wildash, CEO of Next Payments and a leading advocate of the cash economy.

“Banks cover theft from bank accounts but do they cover the costs of broken car windows, lost handbags and personal possessions?

“The work required to replace the card and the days without a card is frustrating and it’s not convenient to open a new account and re-establish direct debits.”

The FULL LIST of 50 times the cops warned us about PayWave card fraud


Robo Debt class action launched

“The innocent must be repaid with interest and damages”

Lawyer Peter Gordon and former Labor leader Bill Shorten have alleged in Canberra today that Centrelink’s Robo-debt program is UNLAWFUL.

Mr Gordon and Mr Shorten have asked for people who have been caught up in a Centrelink robo-debt (automatically generated alleged debt) to come forward and join a class action law suit against the Commonwealth of Australia.

“Robo-debt is both unlawful and unethical in the way that it seeks to recover debts by requiring supposed debtors to disprove a data-matched debt,” said Bill Shorten today.

The basis for the legal challenge is that Centrelink financially benefited from wrongly taking money that legitimately belonged to pensioners and beneficiaries.

Gordon Legal Senior Partner, Peter Gordon said: “Between two to three hundred million dollars have been wrongly taken from people and making it even worse was many were hit with penalties of 10 per cent.”

“The Robo-debt system put debt collectors onto innocent people to chase unlawful debts.

“They have been unfairly financially disadvantaged and must be repaid with interest, penalties dropped and damages paid.”

To sign up for the class action click here and enter your details including Centrelink Reference Number.


Jason Bryce