HSBC UK and First Direct have announced an increased cooling off period to their gambling block feature, from 24 hours to 72 hours, amid a rise in gambling throughout the latest lockdown.
When switched on, the self-restriction tool – which prevents customers from being able to make gambling payments on their accounts – will automatically decline any gambling transactions for three days.
Recently published data from the Gambling Commission shows a 29% month-on-month increase in gross gambling yield amid lockdown restrictions, as well as a 7% increase in active accounts.
“This is a challenging time for many of our customers, with some not working and perhaps facing financial difficulty,” said Maxine Pritchard, head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability at HSBC UK. “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 tool is available to HSBC UK and first direct customers, who can activate it through the HSBC UK mobile app, as well as via telephone banking or going into a branch. HSBC UK previously took measures to protect customers by announcing a ban on gambling transactions on credit cards in April 2020.
GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings said: “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.”