Starling Bank the latest bank to join problem gambling crackdown

26 March 2020

Lender brings in 48-hour block on gambling spending

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Starling Bank is the latest lender to toughen up its problem gambling restrictions with a voluntary 48-hour block on betting transactions.

The payment block allows customers to prevent transactions for certain types of activity, such as gambling. 

Previously, Starling Bank users were able to get around the block by disabling it any time they wanted.

The new delay is meant to help stop customers making impulsive gambling transactions. 

A spokesperson from Starling Bank says: "We introduced the 48-hour delay because we felt it would make the block more effective.

"We hope that this new feature will allow time for reflection."

Banks help customers fight gambling addiction

Several banks have already introduced payment blocking features to help customers tackle problem spending, such as excessive gambling. 

Barclays was the first bank to introduce such a feature at the end of 2018 by allowing customers to turn off payments to certain types of retailer, including gambling services.

This block, however, can be turned on and off instantly in the Barclays banking app.

Since then banks such as HSBC and app-based bank Monzo have also introduced a gambling block feature which takes the idea a step further.

Customers of these two banks must give 48 hours notice in order to lift the gambling restrictions.

The table below shows which banks offer payment blocks and how long they take to remove. 

Bank Card type Notice required to lift ban
Bank of Scotland Credit card and debit card 48 hours
Halifax Credit card and debit card 48 hours
HSBC Credit card and debit card 48 hours
Lloyds Bank Credit card and debit card 48 hours
MNBA Credit card only* 48 hours
Monzo Debit card only** 48 hours
Barclays Credit card and debit card None
NatWest Credit card only None
RBS Credit card only None
Starling Bank Debit card only** None

Gambling on credit cards banned

People will be banned from using credit cards to gamble from 14 April 2020, the Gambling Commission has ruled. 

The ban will apply to all online and offline gambling products except for 'society lotteries' that are run for good causes.

It follows a review of online gambling conducted by the Gambling Commission and a separate Government review of gaming machines.

Around 22% of people using credit cards to gamble are classed as "problem gamblers", the Commission found. 

The ban aims to put layers of financial protection in place for vulnerable customers.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission says: “The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm.

"We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend."

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