A free and voluntary service to pay bills and expenses as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

You need to know

About

Centrepay is a free bill paying service.

Use Centrepay to arrange regular deductions from your Centrelink payment to pay for your bills.

You can start or stop using it whenever you like.

You can use it for many types of bills - for example child care, electricity and rent.

You’ll need to give us permission to pay your bills using part of your payment.

How it works

You tell us:

  • who you want to pay
  • how much you want to pay them
  • which Centrelink payment you want the money to come from

We:

  • take the money out of your payment before you get it
  • use the money to pay the bill for you every 2 weeks

We deduct your Centrepay payments last. Other amounts that we’ll deduct first are:

  • participation penalty amounts and non-payment periods
  • weekly payment amount - if you receive your payments weekly
  • urgent and advance repayment amounts
  • debt repayments
  • child support payments
  • tax deductions
  • amounts directed to your Income Management account, and
  • government housing rent deductions as part of the Rent Deduction Scheme

You’re in control

You can start, change or stop deductions at any time.

For example, you can:

  • set a target amount for when they’ll stop
  • set a date for them to stop within the next 12 months
  • choose which bills we pay first
  • change the amount if a bill goes up or down
  • change the amount for up to 13 weeks, then automatically go back to the old amount
  • stop deductions for up to 13 weeks, then automatically start them again - for example, you can pause child care deductions if your child isn’t in care for a few weeks

No charge to you

Centrepay is 100% free for you to use.

We don’t charge you to:

  • set up payments
  • change payments
  • stop payments

We charge Businesses a fee to accept Centrepay for their bills.

Centrepay Businesses can’t:

  • charge you for using Centrepay
  • pass our fee on to you

If you think they’ve charged you more to cover our fee, talk to them.

If you don’t accept their answer, contact us on your regular payment number or write to our complaints and feedback service.

Bills you can pay

You can use Centrepay to pay any Business that accepts it.

Search and find a business to see who does.

What you can pay for

You can use Centrepay for a wide range of regular bills.

If you want to use Centrepay to pay court fines and infringements, you must contact the Court Administrative Office in your state or territory.

If you’re still not sure if you can use Centrepay for something, call your regular payment line number.

Bills you can't pay

There are some things you can’t use Centrepay for. These include:

  • credit cards
  • paying back
    • cash lenders
    • payday lenders
    • pawn brokers
    • debt collectors
  • alcohol and home brew products
  • cigarettes
  • pornography
  • gambling
  • gift cards and vouchers
  • payment plans - for example for Christmas hampers or laybys
  • car leasing
  • taxis
  • hire cars
  • income protection, funeral or life insurance
  • renting or leasing household goods if the agreement
    • is for less than 4 months
    • doesn’t have an end date
  • any payments that put you into financial difficulty

Using the service

Using Centrepay

You can set up a Centrepay deduction from most Centrelink payments.

Centrepay deductions can be set up for a range of goods and services.

Centrelink payments you can’t use Centrepay for

There are some Centrelink payments you can’t set up a Centrepay deduction to come out from. You can’t set up Centrepay deductions from these payments.

  • ABSTUDY - excluding Basic Living Allowance
  • Advance payments - excluding FTB advances
  • Arrears payments
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Boarding Allowance
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Child Care Rebate
  • Dad and Partner Pay
  • Distance Education Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Parental Leave Pay delivered by employers for Paid Parental Leave
  • Quarterly supplement
  • Restart Income Support
  • Restart Re-establishment Grant
  • School Kids Bonus
  • Second Home Allowance
  • Status Resolution Support Services Payment

Contact us

If you’re not sure if you can set up a Centrepay deduction for goods or services you want to use, call us on your regular payment number.

Goods and services

You can’t set up a Centrepay deduction for all goods and services. You can only use Centrepay for goods and services that we have approved businesses to provide.

Read more about goods and services for Centrepay deductions

How to set up deductions

It’s easy to set up Centrepay deductions.

When you do this we pay a Business for you, out of your income support payment. We can’t start doing this until you tell us to.

The easiest way to set up deductions is using your Centrelink online account through myGov or Express Plus mobile app.

We may send you a letter telling you we have set up your deduction. You can also check online.

The lowest amount we can deduct is $10 per fortnight.

Timing

You can tell us when to start your deduction. This could be:

  • for your next Centrelink payment, or
  • anytime up to 8 weeks in advance

We will deduct the money every fortnight. We do this on the same day you get your Centrelink payment.

If you tell us to change or start a deduction, within 5 Business days before your next payment, in general it won’t happen until the following fortnight.

If you have more than one deduction, we’ll pay them in the order you authorised us to pay them in.

Ways to set up deductions

You can set them up:

Details you need

You’ll need:

  • your Centrelink customer reference number (CRN)
  • the bill details, such as the account or billing number
  • the name of the Business you’re paying
  • their address and phone number if you have them
  • their CRN - to find this number, search Find a Business, it will always start with 555

Choices you need to make

You must choose:

  • how much you want us to deduct each fortnight
  • which Centrelink payment you want it to come out of
  • the date you want us to make the first deduction
  • when you want deductions to end - you can choose to:
    • set an end date - no more than 52 weeks after the start date
    • set a target amount
    • leave it open for now

Keeping track

Check your deductions online each fortnight to make sure they’re correct.

If you’ve paid too much to a Business, you can:

  • reduce the amount,
  • suspend your deduction for up to 13 weeks, or
  • ask them to refund you the amount

If we take a deduction you didn’t authorise, you should contact us as soon as possible. We’ll check your deduction and tell you what you need to do, or follow it up for you.

If a Business doesn’t use Centrepay

You can only use Centrepay to pay businesses that we have approved.

If a business doesn’t have Centrepay you’ll have to pay them using another payment option such as BPay or direct debit.

You can ask a Business if they would use Centrepay as a payment option.

Businesses can read more about Centrepay for Businesses and apply to use the service.

Some businesses may not be eligible and won’t be able to receive payments through Centrepay.

Your representatives

Someone to deal with the Business on your behalf

You will need to speak with the Business if you wish to arrange for another person or organisation to represent you when dealing with the Business about your Centrepay Deductions.

Someone to deal with us on your behalf

You can arrange for someone to deal with us on your behalf.

Public Trustee and Court appointed arrangements

If a court or tribunal has appointed someone else, such as a public trustee, to manage your affairs, you will need to speak to them to set up or change your Centrepay deductions.

Managing

Keep track of your deductions

Check your deductions from time to time to make sure they’re still okay.

You can do this through your Centrelink online account or your Express Plus mobile app account.

Deduction summary

Centrelink online account

This shows all the deductions we’re making for you at the moment.

To see it:

  • sign in to myGov
  • select your Centrelink online account
  • select Menu
  • select Deductions
  • select View/Add/Change Deductions
Express Plus mobile app account

This shows all the deductions we’re making for you at the moment.

To see it:

  • sign in to Express Plus
  • select MENU to access the full menu
  • select Deductions
  • select Centrepay

If you need help with your Centrelink online account or mobile app, read the online account guides or watch our video demonstrations

Deduction statement

This gives details of:

  • your next payments from us
  • the amounts you’ve told us to deduct
  • how much you’ll get after we take these out

Read more about deduction statements.

Changes to your Centrelink payments

Changes to your Centrelink payments can affect your Centrepay deductions.

If we reduce your Centrelink payment

We’ll stop making deductions if your reduced payment isn’t enough to cover them.

You’ll need to contact each Business you are making payments to and work out another way to pay your fortnight’s bill.

If we suspend it

If we restart your payment within 14 days we’ll keep your deductions going. You don’t have to do anything.

Sometimes we can suspend your payment for longer than 14 days. If this is the case your Centrepay deduction will remain current for as long as we suspend your payment.

If we cancel it

We’ll stop your deductions after 14 days.

You’ll need to contact each Business that you are making a deduction to and work out another way to pay your bills.

If you change to another payment

We’ll keep your deductions going if there’s no break between stopping one payment and starting another payment as long as it is eligible for Centrepay deductions.

If there is a break you’ll need to set up your deductions again. You may also need to check with each Business if you’ve missed any bills and need to catch up.

Your obligations

You have responsibilities to make sure Centrepay is working in the best way for you. They include:

  • making sure you have authorised your Centrepay deductions
  • you’ve given consent to change your deductions
  • your deductions are correct and we have paid them to the right Business
  • regularly checking your deductions using your online account or using the Express Plus mobile app
  • telling us if you want your deductions to come out in a particular order so we pay the most important one first
  • making sure your Centrelink payments will cover all your Centrepay deductions and your other daily living expenses
  • being aware that your Centrelink payments may change - this may affect your Centrepay deductions because you don’t have enough money to cover all of them, remember you may still have to make payments to the Business under the terms of your contract with them
  • making up any amounts owed to a Business because we have reduced your payment
  • checking that we will transfer your deductions when you start a new payment
  • instructing the Business to stop your deduction if you’re no longer using their services

Read your regular payment information to find out what you need to do to keep getting your payment.

Our obligations

We want to make sure Centrepay is working in the best way for you.

What we do

We provide you and businesses with access to use Centrepay. We’re also responsible for:

Providing information and education about Centrepay and its operations

We provide and maintain the policy and terms for how Centrepay works and how it’s used by you and businesses.

Read the Centrepay policy and terms.

Assessing businesses who apply for Centrepay

We decide which businesses can use Centrepay for their customers.

We use a strict approval process. We only approve businesses who meet our standards and agree to act in accordance with the Centrepay policy and terms.

Read the Centrepay policy and terms.

Protecting your consumer rights

We work closely with organisations who are responsible for protecting your consumer rights.

If you have concerns about the quality of goods and services you get using Centrepay, let us know. We’ll investigate your concern or complaint and refer it to the:

  • business
  • relevant regulatory body, or
  • consumer assistance organisation
Making sure businesses use Centrepay correctly

We make sure businesses we’ve approved for Centrepay are doing the right thing. We:

  • undertake checks and reviews on businesses
  • take action if we find out a business is not using Centrepay correctly, and
  • follow up any of your complaints or feedback about Centrepay
Improving Centrepay

We’re committed to improving Centrepay. If you have any suggestions let us know. We welcome your feedback.

What we can’t do

We aren’t responsible for the goods or services that a business provides to you, and we don’t in any way endorse the business or its goods and services.

Your personal details

We may need to give your details to the Business you want us to pay.

This is to:

  • check your account number for their bills
  • check you’ll be paying the amount you want to pay
  • balance your payment deduction details

We may also use some of your details for customer surveys. This includes surveys we get research organisations to run for us.

Read about:

Resources

Better ways to pay for household goods

You may end up paying a lot more than you think if you rent or lease household goods.

What to do instead

Better value options include:

  • Centrelink advance payments
  • no and low interest loans from community organisations
  • lay-by from stores
  • saving up the money and buying outright

Find out more

For help to make the most of your Centrelink payment:

Consumer rights

When you buy goods or services you have legal rights as a consumer.

Read about your consumer rights on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

If you need help

You can get help to check and stand up for your rights from:

  • ombudsman services
  • regulators like ACCC or ASIC
  • fair trading offices in each state
  • free legal services

Read about how to complain on the ASIC MoneySmart website.

Complaints and feedback

We want to hear what you think about our services.

It helps us improve if you tell us:

  • when we haven’t helped you
  • when we’ve done well
  • how we could do better

Read about how to give us your complaints and feedback.

Banking options

Choosing a bank account

Talk to your bank to make sure you have the best kind of account for you.

If you are paying too much in fees, think about finding a fee free bank account.

Fee free bank accounts, also called basic bank accounts, are transaction accounts with:

  • no account keeping fees
  • free monthly statements
  • no minimum deposit amounts
  • no overdrawn fees
  • no cost to set up and cancel direct debits, and
  • free and unlimited transactions

Some fee free bank accounts are offered to all Australians. However, some require you to hold a:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Health Care Card, or
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Affordable Banking website lists banks offering fee free bank accounts and eligibility information. Credit unions and building societies provide products with similar features.

For other money tips and tricks, read about managing your money.

If you overdraw your account

You can get help to manage your money if your bank balance goes below zero.

Read what to do if you overdraw your account.

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Page last updated: 13 September 2017