GamCare demonstrated its support for the nationwide initiative ‘Talk Money Week’ (#TalkMoney) annual Money & Pensions Services (MaPS), which enabled the general public to speak frankly about their personal finances.
The #TalkMoney initiative, hosted from 9-13 November, put financial issues related to problem gambling as a main issue, as the public finance organisation urged the public to seek open advice on their personal finances, offering better guidance on their personal debt, credit cards, loans and savings accounts.
GamCare emphasised that financial well-being was a fundamental process in the treatment of gambling victims, endorsing MaPS goals. In addition, the charity indicated that at-risk and vulnerable customers may be anxious to talk to their banks about issues relating to their gambling habits.
GamCare reported that nearly three quarters’ of people calling their gambling helpline last year listed ‘any sort of gambling debt or financial difficulty,’ adding that it noted a stigma among callers about talking about debt advice to their banks and understanding their financial options.
Whilst the majority of UK banks have installed ‘gambling blocks’ allowing customers to limit gambling transactions, GamCare marked customer service engagements as a crucial point of intervention.
The charity highlighted the work carried out by the Monzo digital bank, detailing: “All of our specialist support team have been trained in how to support people who are struggling with gambling, and they’d all be delighted to spend some time getting to know you and your needs. All you have to do is reach out and ask. You can let us know by going to the ‘Help’ screen in your app and searching for gambling. From there, you’ll be able to write directly to our specialist support team.”
GamCare further acknowledged privacy issues, stressing that at-risk customers were unaware of bank confidentiality safeguards with respect to their personal details.
Furthermore, several callers seeking advice were anxious that personal finance services would be automatically refused (should they admit to gambling). GamCare said, “We have spoken to many lenders who confirmed to us that it’s simply not the case.”
GamCare emphasised that financial institutions ought to be frank on why they deny their credit services, whether they apply for a mortgage, personal loan or credit card. It noted that consumers impacted should be made aware of their lending status and of the options available on the Experian and Equifax websites for accessing details.