Westpac Banking Corporation, an Australian bank and financial services provider has extended its digital gambling block feature to two million debit card customers of its St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne subsidiaries.
Westpac as it’s simply known, first introduced the feature earlier this year, enabling customers with eligible cards to apply an instant block on certain gambling-related transactions through their mobile or online banking.
Initially it was available to Westpac credit and debit cardholders as well as St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne credit card customers.
The banking group is now extending the block to more cards and also automatically applying it to all debit cardholders under the age of 18.
The gambling block is to help customers plan and manage their personal credit card and debit card spend by preventing the authorisation of transactions which are registered under the merchant category code ‘Betting/Casino Gambling’.
It allows the primary credit cardholder or individual debit cardholder to request gambling transactions, categorised as betting or casino, to be blocked for their card
Westpac’s director of customer vulnerability and financial resilience, Catherine Fitzpatrick, says the digital feature has already been activated more than 30,000 times since it first went live.
“Problem gambling continues to be a serious issue in Australian communities, and as more people transact online during the pandemic, the digital feature gives customers the ability to manage their gambling spend whenever they might need it,” she adds.
Lauren Levin, director, policy and campaigns, Financial Counselling Australia, adds: “Research tells us that the more often a person gambles, the greater the risk of developing a gambling issue. The bank gambling block is an easy tool that will help a lot of people.”
Westpac Banking Corporatio is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.