HSBC UK Expands Credit Card Gambling Block

The cooling off time for their gambling block feature has been expanded by HSBC UK and its first direct division, with the limit extended from a 24-hour period to 72 hours.

‘Helping people control their urge to gamble’

The self-restriction tool, which prohibits consumers from making gambling payments on their accounts after it is turned on, would immediately decrease all gambling transactions for three days, as the organization tries to “help people control their urge to gamble.”

Increased restriction to 72 hours

Maxine Pritchard, head of financial inclusion and vulnerability at HSBC UK explained: “This is a challenging time for many of our customers, with some not working and perhaps facing financial difficulty. By increasing the restriction to 72 hours, this will help give our customers time to pause when they are tempted to return to gambling.

“We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances. Customer feedback on our gambling control showed us there was more we could do to help and we’ve worked closely with them and with GamCare to design the solution.”

The choice can be turned on via the ‘Manage Cards’ section of the mobile app, as well as via telephone banking or by entering a branch, only for HSBC UK and first direct customers with an active debit card.

Important tool

GamCare’s CEO, Anna Hemmings, commented: “The ability to block gambling transactions through your bank card or app is an important tool for those struggling with their gambling, and is ideally used together with other practical tools such as self-exclusion, blocking software, and specialist support around the issue – as we have recently emphasised through our ‘TalkBanStop’ partnership and campaign. 

“The University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre has also highlighted that ‘positive friction’ such as a cooling off period is important for the success of blocks, as this prevents them being turned off in the event of urges to gamble. GamCare is pleased to see HSBC UK and first direct take this positive step to support their customers.”