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National Australia Bank Offers Gambling Block Option
Banks have been addressing gambling in their official customer policies in the past several years. Some have blocked gambling transactions completely, and others are in the process of seeking public feedback. National Australia Bank, however, decided to take a unique angle by giving their customers the option of blocking gambling transactions.
NAB Official Announcement
On February 21, 2020, National Australia Bank (NAB) announced that it will give all of their retail banking customers the option to restrict most gambling transactions. This expands a process started in December for customers with some cards in some formats.
Customers using the NAB Visa credit or debit card, via Android and iOS devices, can now easily block all gambling transactions through the app very easily.
The feature, now rolled out on all new versions of the app, was a result of Australian Gambling Statistics released last December. Of all gambling expenditures in 2017-2018, nearly $25 billion of it was related to gambling. And that was a 5% year-on-year increase.
NAB Chief Customer Experience Officer Rachel Slade noted, “It’s very easy to place a bet, so there’s real value in giving people the option to plan ahead and control their spending. This tool is designed to put the choice in the hands of our customers.”
Slade also added that more than 10,000 customers have used the restriction since its initial rollout in December. This, she said, highlights “the importance of offering easy-to-use tools for customers to manage their finances.”
How to Restrict Gambling Via NAB App
In order to support Australians in controlling their financial future, NAB’s gambling blocking option has been made very simple.
Customers must download the latest version of the NAB app. Then they can log in – at no cost – and go to the “My Cards” section. Under “Usage Controls,” they can then disable gambling transactions.
This will implement the block on all transactions when using a NAB Visa debit or credit card linked to that account. It prohibits cash transfers and cash advances for those accounts. Further, it blocks transactions relating to sports betting, casino games, lottery tickets, and online gambling activity.
People can also restrict gambling over others for whom they hold the power of attorney, though that requires a special application through a customer support representative.
Customers can contact NAB customer support with any questions.
The gambling block can also be removed at any time through the app or customer service department, and it takes 48 hours to complete the request. This prohibits people who previously requested the restriction from making rash decisions.
When Restrictions Apply and Do Not Apply
As mentioned, all NAB Visa credit or debit card holders can use the restriction.
Credit card holders do have some limitations.
- If two people share the same credit or debit card number, the primary card holder must put the restriction into place and it will apply to both cards.
- If two people have the same account but different card numbers, the non-primary member can apply a restriction to his or her card only. The primary card holder, in this case, can apply it to his or her own card or both.
Cash withdrawals can still be made using a debit card, and transactions will not be blocked unless the merchant identifies with gambling in some form.
There is no gambling blocking option for NAB Traveller card holders.
Actions by Other Australian Banks
NAB is now the only major Australian bank to offer a gambling restriction on debit cards in addition to credit cards.
However, it is far from the first to make a decision about gambling. Macquarie Bank took action last year. Its new policy went into effect on July 1, 2019, and its plan was to block all gambling charges on credit cards. No transactions using a gambling or lottery merchant code would be accepted.
Even more, Macquarie Bank credit card holders could no longer take a cash advance of more than $1,000 at a time. That plan went into effect two months later.
As a part of a larger picture, however, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) decided to seek public opinions about issuing industry-wide on the subject.
The ABA issued a consultation paper in early December 2019, and it has since requested feedback. Some of the questions revolve around opinions regarding gambling prohibition or restriction pertaining to credit card use, appropriate actions by banks, consequences of those actions, and whether or not there should be a transition period for banks to introduce new policies to customers.
The process remains open through March 4.
Should the ABA issue a recommendation in 2020 that conflicts with that of Macquarie Bank or of NAB, the companies could change their policies. However, there is unlikely to be a mandate forcing any changes.