How Centrepay works
Customers receiving welfare payments may request that their bills and other expenses be paid using Centrepay.
With Centrepay, regular amounts are deducted from the customer's welfare payments and paid directly to your Business via secure, electronic transfer.
Customers can request Centrepay deductions by:
- our online services
- the phone
- completing a Centrepay deduction form (SA325), or
- contacting your Business directly
There is a $10 minimum amount for each regular deduction. For each deduction an end date or target amount can be specified and regular deductions will cease automatically once the end date or total (target) amount has been reached.
Your Business will be provided access to our Centrelink Business Online Services (CBOS) where you can manage your Centrepay activities such as:
- receive deduction and payment reconciliation reports
- add, vary or cancel customer deductions in accordance with the customer's deduction authority
We will send an advice to the customers confirming any deduction activity.
To find out if your Business is eligible to use Centrepay and what types of goods and services Centrepay can and cannot be used for, read the new Centrepay Policy and Terms [docx 223kb] and for further information about the operations of Centrepay read the Procedural Guide for Businesses [docx 215kb].
Read more about applying to use Centrepay.
Special features of Centrepay
Centrepay has special features that make it easier for you and your customers to customise their deductions.
Setting target amounts
Target amounts may be set for Centrepay deductions where a specific total amount is required to be paid, such as payment of motor vehicle registration or the purchase of a large household item. Once the target amount is reached, the deduction will automatically cease. Target amounts can be created with a new deduction or added to an existing deduction.
Setting an end date
End dates may be set for Centrepay deductions where the deduction is only required for a specified timeframe, such as payment for temporary accommodation or education expenses payable for a school term. Once the requested end date has been reached, the deduction will automatically cease.
End dates can be created with a new deduction or added to an existing deduction.
Suspending and tailoring deductions
Centrepay deductions may be temporarily suspended, increased or decreased for a maximum period of 13 weeks.
Suspending a deduction that is temporarily not required can reduce the likelihood of an overpayment being made. Once the suspension end date has been reached, the deduction will automatically recommence.
If a deduction has been temporarily increased or decreased it will revert back to the original amount once the nominated end date for the change has been reached.
Benefits for your business
Centrepay can help your business reduce administrative costs, such as costs caused by the withdrawal and reconnection of your service to a customer.
As deductions are made directly from customers' Centrelink payments to your nominated bank account, this can help make sure bills are paid on time.
We provide approved Centrepay Businesses with:
- an alternative payment option that helps your customers pay their bills on time
- secure transfer of deduction payments to your nominated bank account directly from customer's Centrelink payments
- automatic deduction of agreed transaction fees from your customer's deduction before the deduction payment is transferred to your Business's bank account. This fee cannot be passed on to your customer
- access to Centrelink Business Online Services which allows you to:
- receive regular payment and deduction reports
- receive tax invoices
- process authorised deductions - which may include start, vary or cancel deductions
- access various Centrepay user guides
Support from the Centrepay Helpdesk is available from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm local time, Monday to Friday, on Freecall™ 1800 044 063.
New Goods and Services
Planned improvements to Centrepay will include new and improved service reasons that will support alternatives to consumer leasing and have the potential to assist with financial literacy capability. The new and improved service reasons will include expansion to support low interest loans, savings plans and layby. These service reasons will be released later in 2015.
Applying to use Centrepay
To use Centrepay, Businesses must complete an application to be approved by us.
Costs for using Centrepay
Centrepay is fee free for customers.
Businesses pay a transaction fee of $0.99 (including GST) to us for each Centrepay deduction paid to them. The transaction fee is to cover our costs for administering Centrepay.
This fee is usually deducted from the payment made to your Business. This fee must not be passed on to your customer.
An Independent Review of Centrepay was undertaken in 2013. In response to the recommendations of the review, we delivered a range of changes to improve the operation of Centrepay.
From 1 July 2015, we introduced a new framework for providing Centrepay to Businesses.
Key Changes to Centrepay
We will no longer provide Centrepay under the existing Centrepay policy and a contract formed by the Department of Human Services Business Terms and Conditions, Centrepay Schedule 1 and any agreed Special Conditions.
Centrepay will instead be provided under an administrative framework including new:
Changes to Centrepay that you need to be aware of include:
- a revised Centrepay objective and a requirement for each approved Business to conduct itself in line with this objective
- a revised list of goods and services that are excluded from payment using Centrepay
- a revised framework, primarily administrative in nature, that will realise a number of benefits including:
- reduction and simplification of processes and documentation for business, including more efficient online deduction mechanisms for Businesses
- procedural fairness and consistent decision-making
- new Policy and Terms that set out new eligibility and approval criteria, requirements and obligations of Businesses including clear direction on what goods and services are included or excluded for payment using Centrepay
- a Procedural Guide that plainly sets out the operational aspects of Centrepay
- a broader assurance framework that builds on the previous compliance processes and is based on prevention, detection and appropriate response to non-compliance, including improved education and support for Businesses
- Centrepay services are being expanded to allow for Centrepay deductions for low interest loans, savings plans and layby
Read more about the Independent review of Centrepay and our response.
Read the new Centrepay Policy and Terms [docx 223kb].
Existing Businesses Transition to new Policy and Terms
Transition only applies to Businesses with existing contracts for Centrepay prior to 1 July 2015.
Operation of Centrepay during transition
Centrepay will continue to operate as usual during the transition period with deductions delivering as normal. From 1 July 2015, new businesses wanting to apply to use Centrepay will have to complete the new Centrepay Business Application form. Read more about applying to use Centrepay.
Business that have already submitted applications before the introduction of the new framework and have not yet been notified of the outcome will have their application assessed under the new Centrepay Policy and Terms. It may be necessary for us to contact your Business to obtain further information or ask you to submit a new application.
Businesses already approved but wanting to apply to use Centrepay for other goods and or services must also complete a new Centrepay Business Application form. Read more about applying to use Centrepay.
Frequently asked questions for the Centrepay Businesses transition
This information is to provide answers to questions you may have about the transition.
User and procedural guides for Centrepay
Deduction and Payment Application User Guide
Use the online Deduction and Payment Application (DAPA) service to get information about customer deductions and payments made to your business.
- Deductions and Payment Application user guide [docx, 1.9mb]
Centrepay Bulk Upload Service User Guide
Use the online Centrepay Bulk Upload Service (CBUS) to submit a file of requests to update customer records. Depending on your business’s access, you can process authorised deductions including starting, varying (increase or decrease) and stopping deductions.
- Centrepay Bulk Upload Service User Guide (CSV) [docx, 555kb]
- Centrepay Bulk Upload Service User Guide (XML) [docx, 555kb]
The Centrepay Procedural Guide for Businesses provides clear, practical information about the operational aspects of Centrepay. It should be read in conjunction with the new Centrepay Policy and Terms. It contains further information on applying for Centrepay, participating in Centrepay, the everyday use of Centrepay and the obligations of Centrepay Businesses.
- Centrepay Procedural Guide for Businesses [docx 215kb]
Free promotional products and forms
There is a range of Centrepay promotional products available free of charge. You can order the following products by calling Centrepay on Freecall™ 1800 044 063:
Upcoming scheduled maintenance
Check upcoming scheduled maintenance for Business Online Services.
Read more about upcoming scheduled maintenance.
Find an approved Centrepay Business
As an approved Centrepay Business you will be listed on the Business Directory to help customers find your Business. If you do not wish to be displayed on the directory, call the Centrepay Helpdesk, on Freecall™ 1800 044 063 and ask for a referral to your state Account Manager.
Helpdesk for Businesses
Businesses can call the Centrepay Helpdesk on Freecall™ 1800 044 063 with questions about applying for Centrepay, to query a transaction or update your details.