HSBC Introduces Self-exclusion Tools for Gambling Transactions

HSBC has launched a self-exclusion facility that allows customers the ability to block all gambling transactions.

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HSBC bank announce self-exclusion controls © Pixabay.

The functionality can be activated online, by telephone or in-branch and is activated immediately and is subject to a 24-hour cooling-off period. The company had already announced a proposed ‘ATM-style’ daily gambling limit that would apply to customers, and this new feature supports the bank’s efforts to reduce financial harm around gambling. HSBC said the decision to impose a cooling-off period was intended to create “positive friction” by giving the customer time to consider their choice.

Financial institutions, like betting operators, are under intense pressure and scrutiny to protect vulnerable customers and introduce measures that limit the impact of addiction, or the economic impact of criminal activities on individuals.

HSBC head of financial inclusion and vulnerability UK, Maxine Pritchard, said;

While the option to restrict transactions will help people control their urge to gamble, we continue to work with charities and regulators on other ways in which we can ensure these customers have access to the right support. Maxine Pritchard, HSBC.

Pritchard revealed that the decision to implement the self-exclusion option had been taken after consultation with gambling support charities GamCare and GambleAware. Pritchard also stated that the bank receives in the region of 12,000 calls a year that is directly related to gambling, and she admitted that the bank had a duty of care to support those customers.

The development director at GamCare, Mike Kenward, said he was “very pleased” that more companies offering financial services were adding an additional layer of support. He also paid tribute to the ongoing partnership with the bank, which has enabled HSBC staff to receive training to identify customers who are affected by gambling issues.

The press release on the subject gives an interesting insight into the betting habits of HSBC customers. The bank revealed that 504,000 account holders made regular monthly payments in 2018. The average transaction value was £52.50, which equates to £26,460,000 per month used to fund online gambling. This will be seen as a worrying figure for the bank with Cross Party MPs recently recently calling for more restrictions.

It looks likely that other companies offering financial services will soon follow suit and provide similar self-excluding measures. In the UK, newcomers Starling and Monzo introduced the ability to restrict or limit gambling transactions, and Barclays became the first major bank to enable consumers to block individual purchase categories last year.

The bookmakers themselves are also stepping up their efforts in safer gambling commitments. Earlier this month, ten of the UK’s biggest bookmakers, including bet365, GVC and William Hill, Sky Betting & Gambling, joined the Betting and Gaming Council. Replacing the Remote Gambling Association and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), the new council aims to encourage a collaborative approach in increasing consumer protection and promote a safer gambling culture.

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