Halifax has become the latest bank operating in the UK to allow its customers to block transactions made on gambling websites, joining the likes of Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, and RBS.
The new blocking feature has been designed ‘in recognition of the ways in which the bank can support customers to manage their money and gamble responsibly’.
Elyn Corfield, Managing Director of Consumer Finance at Halifax, commented: “We know that people who gamble a higher proportion of their income are more likely to face financial pressure – so we’ve introduced the freeze tool to help them manage that. Importantly, by also introducing a defrost period we’re helping to protect those who might otherwise make an impulsive return to gambling.”
Halifax has confirmed that the tool will be made available via its mobile app. Customers of the bank will be able to self-exclude both their credit and debit cards from being used at bookmakers and gambling websites.
As well as being able to freeze gambling transactions, Halifax customers can also use an accompanying ‘defrost’ period, allowing customers to reverse their decision to freeze gambling transactions after 48 hours. The bank emphasised that ‘this time period allows customers to thinking time to ensure their decision isn’t made in haste or under duress’.
The feature forms part of the bank’s wider strategy to protect its customers from the risks associated with gambling. Halifax has since committed to offering additional training to customer facing colleagues the branch network and telephony services, and sharing further support information for customers online.
This has been accompanied by a collaborative study with Warwick University to review and analyse the impact of gambling related harm. The findings are due to be shared with the Gambling Commission and other external organisations in the coming months.
At the end of 2018, Barclays became the first UK high-street bank to integrate a ‘gambling-block’ component across its customer-facing digital platforms. The gambling-block feature, co-developed with citizen financial advisory the Money Advice Trust, allows customers to turn-off engagements with all gambling-related properties.