Halifax rolls out advanced gambling control features

15 November 2019

Halifax has become the latest UK banking group to introduce new measures to help its customers manage their money and gamble responsibly.

Customers can now activate a ‘gambling card freeze’ on the Halifax mobile app, which blocks any gambling-related transactions on debit or credit card. Should customers want to reverse this decision, they would need to wait for at least 48 hours in order to ‘defrost’ their card.

Halifax said that it is the first UK bank to enable customers to apply the gambling freeze. The bank also said the ‘defrost’ period will give people thinking time to ensure their decision is not made in haste or under duress.

The gambling card freeze forms part of a wider effort at Halifax, with the bank also providing additional training to customer-facing colleagues in its branches, as well as sharing further support information for customers online.

In addition, Halifax is working with Warwick University to review and analyse the impact of gambling-related harm. The bank will share its findings with the Gambling Commission and various other external organisations.

“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,” Halifax managing director for consumer finance, Elyn Corfield, said.

“Importantly, by also introducing a defrost period we’re helping to protect those who might otherwise make an impulsive return to gambling.”

Halifax joins Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and MBNA, all of which are part of the Lloyds Banking Group, in offering gambling control features to customers.

Earlier this week, HSBC UK also launched a new self-restriction tool to enable its customers to block gambling transactions on their accounts. HSBC developed the new feature in partnership with industry charities GamCare and GambleAware.

NatWest, another banking group, also recently announced a new initiative to tackle problem gambling, linking up with GamCare to support to its UK customers in-branch.

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