Ulster Bank, one of the traditional Big Four Irish clearing banks, has resumed its commitment to Financial Capability by announcing a 48-hour delay gambling suspension on debit card use. The move is the latest in a series of measures unveiled by the bank to improve the financial capability of its customers.
As Ulster Bank has revealed, the feature is effective for both physical and virtual debit cards and has been unveiled as the newest initiative of the Irish bank to tackle gambling-related harm that could be inflicted to customers.
In 2019, the parent company of Ulster Bank – NatWest – unveiled a unique collaboration with the local gambling charity GamCare aimed at providing support, advice and treatment for gamblers experiencing gambling-related harm. As part of the initiative, customers have received the chance to block credit cards for gambling transactions, with the bank hoping the measure will help them take better control of their expenditures and will make sure they block all transactions associated with gambling.
Now, Ulster Bank has introduced the debit card measure to allow its customers to take further control of their spending.
The bank has reported a decline in the number of gambling transactions it processed during the coronavirus lockdown. However, with the lockdown restrictions being relaxed across the UK, both NatWest and Ulster Bank have registered a rapid increase in the gambling-related spending of their customers. The total spending related to gambling services rose by about 32% in September 2020 compared to the same period a year ago.
Gambling Transaction Block Aimed at Providing Better Customer Protection against Gambling Harm
The 48-hour delay introduced by the bank means that its customers will now be forced to wait 48 hours before they are permitted to make payments related to gambling. During the cooling-off period, any initiated transactions will be automatically rejected by the bank.
As Ulster Bank revealed, the gambling transactions block is set to remain in place for an indefinite time, unless a customer decides to remove the feature. In this case, customers will be able to disable the feature after a 48-hour cooling-off period. The Customers of Ulster Bank are able to access the gambling control feature in their mobile banking application via the Manage My Card menu.
The National Gambling Helpline has revealed that approximately 70% of the people who call for help mention some level of financial difficulties or gambling debt. Now, as part of the partnership between GamCare, which operates the National Gambling Helpline, and Ulster Bank, British people are set to be given the chance to better control their spending on gambling services, especially the ones who want to stop gambling.
The head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, Terry Robb, said that the introduction of debit card gambling transactions suspension provides customers who find it difficult to control their gambling with another level of protection when it comes to gambling-related harm.