From 1 July 2023, families using child care must pay the gap fee using electronic means.
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The gap fee is the difference between the provider’s fee and the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) amount. Find out more about gap fees and Child Care Subsidy.
Electronic funds transfer, or EFT, is when a customer pays a bill using electronic means. Typical EFT payment methods include:
- bank or credit card, including mobile wallets
- direct deposit or bank transfer, including PayID
- online payment systems through third party software
- BPAY or Centrepay.
This change will help us protect CCS against fraud and non-compliance. We will check EFT payments against provider and service bank statements and receipts. This way, we can prevent fraudulent CCS claims for care that did not take place. In turn, this ensures CCS flows fairly to families.
Most services already accept EFT payments. This is because it’s safer for staff and easier to administer.
Similarly, over 98% of families already use EFT to pay their gap fee. Most families get salaries or benefits electronically, making it easy to pay the gap fee using EFT.
Families who cannot use EFT to pay their gap fee should talk to their service. Families seeking EFT exemption might be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). ACCS may cover all of a child’s child care fees.
Exemptions will apply in limited circumstances. We will provide more information about exemptions soon.
What do providers need to do?
Most services already accept EFT payments. You must ensure your services use EFT for all gap fee payments from 1 July.
If you don’t already accept EFT, you must establish EFT payment methods by 1 July. Business.gov.au has guidance on different EFT payment methods.
We encourage you to share this information with families at your service. We will provide a kit you can download and use soon.
Will I need to update my hardware or software?
Most services already accept EFT payments and have appropriate systems in place to do so. If you don’t, you’ll need to arrange hardware or software to accept EFT payments before 1 July. Providers may wish to talk to their third-party software provider for help.
What about educators who collect the gap fee?
Sometimes, educators collect the gap fee on behalf of the provider. This commonly occurs in Family Day Care and In Home Care.
Educators can still collect the gap fee. But from 1 July, educators must use EFT for all gap fee payments.
Providers must ensure educators are aware of the requirement to use EFT and have appropriate systems in place to do so.
Providers must ensure educators are using EFT. This could include:
- conducting regular checks, or
- requiring educators to report gap fee payments.
We will check EFT payments against provider or educator bank statements and receipts. As well as any relevant reports from your third-party software.
What do I tell families who cannot use EFT?
Most families already use EFT to pay their gap fee.
Families seeking an exemption might be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). ACCS may cover all of a child’s child care fees.
The Australian Government also provides support to individuals and families navigating financial crises, stress or hardship. You may wish to direct families to the following free, confidential support services:
- Emergency Relief
- Commonwealth Financial Counselling
- Financial Resilience programs, including No Interest Loans Scheme and Saver Plus
- Escaping Violence Payment
- Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot.
We will provide detailed information about exemptions soon. Ensure you’re subscribed to our mailing list and join our Facebook Group.
What are the consequences if I don’t use EFT?
The department will audit this measure from 1 July. We will check EFT payments against provider, service or educator bank statements and receipts. As well as any relevant reports if you use third-party software. We may ask you to provide this information using a section 158 notice.
We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations.
Compliance action could include:
- putting conditions on your approval
- issuing an infringement
- suspending or cancelling your approval.
To get information and updates, early childhood providers and services should: