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Halifax launches advanced gambling controls

Written by: Emma Lunn
Halifax customers can now immediately freeze gambling transactions on their debit and credit cards.

Halifax has launched a new feature to help customers protect themselves from gambling-related harm.

The gambling card freeze, which is a feature of the bank’s mobile app, was developed in recognition of the ways in which the bank can support customers to manage their money and gamble responsibly.

The UK has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world, with 18 per cent of the British population gambling online (up from 10.4 per cent in 2014).

The Gambling Commission’s Responsible Gambling Strategy Board advises that gambling with borrowed money significantly increases the risk that consumers will gamble with more money than they can afford.

Halifax’s gambling freeze can be applied to any of a customer’s debit and credit cards, with an accompanying ‘defrost’ period that means if a customer wants to reverse their decision to freeze gambling transactions, they must wait 48 hours.

This time period allows customers thinking time to ensure their decision isn’t made in haste or under duress.

The move is part of a broad set of activities to protect customers from gambling -related harm. Halifax has also provided additional training to customer facing colleagues, the branch network and telephony services, and is also sharing further support information for customers online.

Halifax is also working with Warwick University to review and analyse the impact of gambling-related harm and will be sharing findings with the Gambling Commission and other external organisations in the coming months.

Elyn Corfield, managing director of consumer finance at Halifax, said: “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.”

Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and MBNA also offer card freeze features providing customers more choice and support in this area. More than 15,000 debit and credit card customers across these four brands have already signed up to the new gambling card controls since launch at the end of October.


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