SYDNEY, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Australian banks will provide free debit cards to roughly half a million customers in a bid to help them use online shopping and contactless payment options, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) announced on Wednesday.
ABA chief executive officer Anna Bligh said that most of those without debit cards are elderly, and it may surprise other Australians to realize that these people still pay for all their goods with cash or EFTPOS, and are unable to shop online or over the phone.
While old-fashioned payment methods can feel more safe and familiar, with the current COVID-19 pandemic it is imperative to limit person-to-person contact and some shops have stopped accepting cash altogether.
"A significant number of older Australians still operate passbook accounts with which they withdraw cash at a bank branch, and do not have any card linked to that account," Council on the Ageing (COTA) Chief Executive Ian Yates said.
"During the COVID-19 period these people have found purchasing goods and services difficult when some retailers have stopped accepting cash."
Bligh acknowledged that some people may have concerns regarding the safety and security of using a debit card but assured them that the method was secure and can help to keep track of personal spending.
The cards will be sent over coming weeks, however there is no obligation by the recipient to use them and no repercussions or fees if they don't. Enditem