Cashless welfare card users in hasty exit

Almost three-quarters of welfare recipients placed on the cashless debit card have left the scheme after the Labor government scrapped it.

Department of Social Services officials revealed 73.3 per cent of people in four trial sites for the welfare card chose to get off it since becoming eligible to do so in early October.

The Albanese government upheld its election promise to dump the card, which it said caused people to feel "shame and anguish", after introducing legislation for its abolition in September.

Deputy secretary Liz Hefren-Webb told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday that 9022 people had opted to leave the program.

Just 55 people had indicated they wanted to voluntarily stay on the card.

A breakdown showed 81 per cent of recipients in the Ceduna trial site wanted to get out of the scheme, with 71 per cent in the East Kimberley site, 76 per cent in the Goldfields region and 75 per cent in the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay area.

Under the scheme, up to 80 per cent of a welfare recipient's payments were placed on the card and could not be used to buy alcohol or for gambling.

The card was spruiked as a solution to encouraging socially responsible behaviour, but a scathing auditor-general report released earlier this year found it failed to reduce harm.

People moving off the card can access support from Services Australia as they transition.

This includes help with budgeting or being referred to other support services and the option of voluntary income management.