Saturday, 16 November 2019

HSBC Bank Now Allows Customers To Block Gambling Transactions


HSBC Bank now allows its customers to block gambling transactions made on gambling websites.

The bank announced this week that it will now allow customers to prohibit themselves from spending money on betting sites and online casinos by self-excluding from gambling transactions. Once enabled, the block will last a minimum of 24 hours, after which customers are given a choice on whether or not to reverse the restriction.

The new measure comes amid a partnership between HSBC and gambling charities GamCare and GameAware, all of which are aiming to create “positive friction” by allowing customers to monitor and control their gambling behaviour. HSBC has stated that it implemented the measure after customers voiced concern over the impact gambling was having on their lives.

According to the bank, around half a million of the firm’s customers made bets each month in 2018, and the bank reportedly receives over 12,000 calls from customers each year about gambling. In response, HSBC decided to offer the restriction and has trained staff to respond to calls.

The new restriction tool is available to all HSBC customers with a debit or credit card and can be enabled in the ‘Manage Cards’ section of the HSBC mobile app, or by calling the bank or visiting a local branch. If a customer attempts to deposit with the restriction enabled, the payment will be declined.

Maxine Pritchard, the HSBC’s Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability, said in a statement: “We are committed to helping customers manage their finances and that includes introducing new tools that can help control spending. With the bank receiving 12,000 calls a year relating to gambling, it’s clear we should do more to support these customers.”

GamCare’s Development Director Mike Kenward added: “HSBC UK will be giving their customers a valuable tool to help them protect themselves and have received training to support their staff to help those they identify as affected by gambling issues directly.”

Supporting Responsible Gambling

HSBC’s new self-restriction tool joins several other banks offering the service including Barclays, Monzo, and Starling, all of which allow customers to block gambling transactions. What’s more, the announcement comes just weeks after NatWest announced it had partnered with charity GamCare to offer support to gambling addicts at its high-street branches.

According to NatWest, the service will begin in 13 branches around London, the Midlands, and the South-East of England. The bank will reportedly use floorspace in larger branches to offer discreet support in a safe environment with the help of trained GamCare professionals. Customers who are not part of the bank can also make appointments to speak with experts from the gambling charity.

The news comes as the UK government calls for tighter gambling regulations, particularly for online casinos. Earlier this month, a group of cross-party MPs issued a report which called for a maximum betting limit on online slot machines, restrictions on VIP accounts, the introduction of mandatory affordability checks, and an end to credit card use at online casinos.

In response, several of the UK’s top gambling firms pledged their commitment to five new responsible gambling measures which focus on protecting customers and providing more support to players. Gambling firms hope that their pledge to the new commitments will prevent the UK government from imposing tighter regulations on them.

More recently, the newly formed Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) introduced its Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) to UK betting shops. The system uses a real-time algorithm to monitor a player’s behaviour on gambling machines and upon detecting irresponsible behaviour, forces the player to take a break from the machine via a ‘cooling-off’ period.