It has been reported today that UK gambling charity Gamble Aware has published research findings following a review in to bank card gambling blockers and the effectiveness of such protocols.
One of the primary aims of the research was to evaluate the effectiveness of bank card blocking in assisting people with controlling their gambling.
However, researchers behind the study have exposed surprising findings that only eight financial service companies offered bank card blocking facilities in the United Kingdom with others offering zero blocking services to customers.
In turn, meaning that almost thirty million bank-current accounts are not able to utilise this tool that may play an important role in blocking expenditure from gambling.
Marc Etches of Gamble Aware spoke out about the report findings:
“Keeping people safe from gambling harms requires banks to play their full part in providing consumers with effective means to block gambling transactions. While some banks have taken proactive steps to help shield their customers from gambling harms, the findings of this research indicate that improvements can and should be made. We encourage the banking industry to work together alongside the Government and regulators to implement the proposed recommendations.”
In addition, the effectiveness of the bank card blockers already in use showed serious signs of needing improvement in order to effectively serve their purpose. Out of the eight blockers in existence, three could be turned off like a switch rather than a locking facility.
Research Director of the PFRC at the University of Bristol Professor Sharon Collard also commented on the research and outlined the serious changes required:
“Our research has found bank card gambling blockers are not available on roughly 40% of personal current accounts. This means an estimated 28 million people are missing out on this crucial tool to block gambling expenditure which helps protect them from gambling harms. We are calling on the Financial Conduct Authority to urgently recommend that gambling blocks are standard on all debit and credit cards. We examined the effectiveness of all existing blockers and found that serious changes are required. The people affected by gambling harms who took part in the review stated that the more positive friction that can be built into a bank blocker, the more effective it can be. It is vital, therefore, that the blockers cannot just be turned on and off, as the benefits of the technology become redundant. Instead, we recommend all financial service firms require consumers to wait at least two days between requesting to turn the blocker off, and the blocker technology stopping.”
A more suitable locking system as outlined by the report would be to integrate timed mechanisms that lock until the specified duration has expired, with a minimum of 48 hours as standard.