Cashless welfare card recipients in Western Australia and South Australia were stranded for six hours last week after an outage on the cards.
According to Indue –the card operators– approximately 800 people were affected.
“Indue has confirmed it experienced a temporary technology disruption to the Cashless Debit Card which may have impacted customers attempting to make transactions on the evening of Tuesday 15 January and apologise for any inconvenience caused,” the company said in a statement.
It is believed the outage occurred last Tuesday at approximately 4PM West Australian time and at 6.30PM in South Australia, with services not able to be restored until the next morning.
However, NITV has learned there are still recipients experiencing card issues and issues with the App, three days after the outage.
Indue said they are aware some customers are experiencing issues with the Google mobile app, which they are working to address.
The company also issued an apology on their online website and said they are investigating the matter.
The Cashless Welfare Card was implemented in Ceduna in South Australia, and in the Goldfields region and the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.
According to Charmaine Crowe, Senior Policy Officer from the Australian Council Social Services, card holders are people on some of the lowest welfare payments in the country.
“The cashless debit card is paternalistic, intrusive and punitive. It discriminates against people on low incomes. People are on unemployment and other payments because they are looking for paid work or caring for children. There is only one paid position available for every 8 applicants and restricting access to cash is not going to change this,” she told NITV.
“Outages like this are just one of the ways that these cards make life more difficult for people who are struggling to make ends meet.”
The cashless welfare card works by deducting 80 per cent of the holder's welfare payments and putting the amount onto their cashless card account.
As recipients, you cannot withdraw money from your cashless card and can only access cash from your personal bank account where the remaining 20 per cent of welfare payment is transferred.
The Federal Government’s Department of Social Services is responsible for the management of the cards.
On their website, it states the ‘emergency support services’ are available for recipients. NITV is still waiting to hear if any of the cases from last week were able to access those services.