12 Nov 2019 Halifax customers can now benefit from a service feature to protect themselves from gambling-related harm. The gambling card freeze, which is a feature of the banks’ mobile app[s], was developed in recognition of the ways in which the bank can support customers to manage their money and gamble responsibly.
Halifax is the first UK bank to enable customers to apply the gambling freeze to any of their debit and credit cards, with an accompanying ‘defrost’ period that means if customers want to reverse their decision to freeze gambling transactions, they must wait 48 hours. This time period allows customers to thinking time to ensure their decision isn’t made in haste or under duress.
This is part of a broad set of activities to protect customers from gambling related harm. This includes providing additional training to customer facing colleagues the branch network and telephony services, and 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, Consumer Finance, says: “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. Over 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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