Merchants Overview

All merchants that have existing point-of-sale terminal facilities and do not sell alcohol, gambling goods/services, tobacco, pornography or gift cards will automatically be able to accept the SmartCard as a payment method. There is no additional hardware, software or training required for a merchant that does not sell restricted items (as defined below).

Merchants whose main business is in the sale of restricted items will automatically be blocked from accepting SmartCard payments (e.g. casinos, TABs, liquor stores, tobacco, and pornography). Merchants who sell both restricted and unrestricted goods and services can enter into a Mixed Merchant Agreement if they wish to accept the SmartCard. Merchants can also opt not to enter into a Mixed Merchant Agreement, which would mean the business may be blocked from accepting the SmartCard.

For more information about Mixed Merchant Agreements, please click here.

Using the SmartCard at point-of-sale terminal devices

To use the SmartCard to make a purchase at a point-of-sale terminal device, a cardholder may insert the SmartCard into the device and press:

  • “SAV” or “Savings” 
  • “CHQ” or “Cheque” or
  • “CR” or “Credit”, then follow the prompts to enter their PIN.

A merchant should only process the SmartCard when the payment network is operational and not when the payment network is offline.

The SmartCard also has a contactless payment feature that must be enabled by the customer.  Once the contactless payment feature has been enabled by the customer they can pay by tapping their card on a contactless enabled terminal and waiting for the transaction to be confirmed. There is no need for the cardholder to enter their PIN for purchases of $100 or less (or $200 or less at some businesses).

Restricted goods and services

For the purposes of the enhanced Income Management (eIM) program, restricted items include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Gambling goods and services (including lottery tickets and Scratchies)
  3. Tobacco and tobacco products
  4. Pornography
  5. Gift cards (cash-like products) that allow cardholders to access cash or purchase alcohol, tobacco, gambling products or pornographic material
  6. Any other goods or services determined by the Commonwealth of Australia in accordance with the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth).

Blocked Merchants

Merchants can be blocked from accepting SmartCard payments for several reasons:

  • Their main business is the sale or provision of restricted goods and services
  • The merchant sells a mixture of restricted and unrestricted goods, but has opted not to be part of the program
  • The merchant is participating in ongoing circumvention of the program.

You can find a list of Blocked Merchants here.

Please note: SmartCards are accepted at any physical or online business or store that is not on the Blocked Merchants List and does not primarily sell restricted items.

Participating Mixed Merchants

Some merchants selling a mixture of restricted and unrestricted items (such as pubs or sports clubs) have signed an agreement to accept the SmartCard. SmartCards can be used at these businesses to purchase unrestricted items.

View the list of Participating Mixed Merchants who have signed an agreement and accept the SmartCard.