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500,000 bank cards in the post to help people shop online

More than 500,000 bank customers who still rely on a passbook or transaction accounts will be sent debit cards so they can shop online or over the phone.

The affected customers, many of them aged over 70, are being told to stay at home for their own safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, but need to leave the house in order to pay with cash.

Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh says having a debit card will challenge lifelong habits for some people.

“This is something that I think is very important in these times, when we know more and more shops and merchants are saying they don’t  handle cash because they’re worried about cash spreading germs,” he said.

“No one is going to force them (to use the card) but if we waited for everybody to apply, it could take a very long time.

“It’s not a credit card, no one’s getting into debt with it.

“It’s a way to access their own money to do the thing they really need to do – buy groceries, pay for bills when they can’t use cash.”

Click PLAY Anna Bligh’s full interview